Feuding Gunmen Kill 21 People In Pakistan’s Largest City
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) _ Hundreds of wailing mourners on Tuesday buried five Shiite Muslims who were gunned down during two days of lawlessness in Pakistan’s largest city.
At least 21 people have been killed since Monday when gunmen took religious, political and ethnic feuds to the streets of Karachi, police said.
″The snipers are everywhere. They are rampant,″ said Aleem Jafri, police superintendent in Karachi’s western suburb, where four people were killed.
The separate shootings in different parts of the city were the year’s worst round of bloodletting in this southern port.
Violence began Monday when masked gunmen in a car shot and killed five Shiite Muslim worshippers at a mosque in central Karachi. Police blamed Sunni Muslim militants.
Hundreds of police followed closely as the funeral procession Tuesday wound through Karachi’s congested streets. Mourners beat their chests and howled anti-government slogans.
Five people were injured when police fired at people protesting the attack outside the mosque, witnesses said.
Most Pakistanis are Sunni Muslims. Militant rival Muslim groups have sprung up in recent years, and they regularly clash.
Sectarian violence has left dozens dead in Karachi in recent months. Soldiers have been deployed there and in other urban centers since 1992 in a government attempt to curb crime and political and religious violence.
In another part of town, four people were killed in politically linked shootings, police said. Two victims belonged to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s liberal Pakistan People’s Party and two were members of her conservative rivals, the Pakistan Muslim League.
In Karachi’s eastern district, seven members of a militant ethnic group died in gunfights between rival factions. The group, the Refugee People’s Movement, represents Indian Muslims who immigrated to Pakistan when the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947.
Gunmen killed five people in several other incidents. Police were trying to establish to which feud the deaths were linked.