Conflict & Justice

Pakistan's violence spree continues in Karachi and Quetta

Brazen violence continues to plague Pakistan's main cities of Karachi and Quetta.

Shootings in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi left at least nine people dead on Saturday and 92 in the last nine days, in what appears to be ongoing struggle for power between political and Islamist parties. In Quetta gunmen killed at least 11 ethnic Harzara Shia, continuing the trend of sectarian attacks over the past few days.

According to officials, more than 200 people have been killed this month in Karachi and 92 people lost their lives since July 22. Eleven people, including two lawyers, were killed on Friday, the Times of India reported. Karachi contributes 68 per cent of the government's total revenue and 25 per cent of country's GDP, according to officials.

The violence in Karachi has been fuelled largely by clashes between Karachi's most powerful political party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), and its breakaway faction, the Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi (MQM-H), Al Jazeera reported on July 23.

In Quetta, gunmen opened fire on a commuter van and a rickshaw on Saturday, killing at least 11 Shiite Muslims, according to police officials, the New York Times reported today. A banned Sunni extremist militant group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Quetta, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, has a history of sectarian violence. Sunni extremists in the region have repeatedly attacked minority Shiites, who are mostly members of the Hazara ethnic group.

The latest sectarian violence began with the killing of a Sunni scholar in Quetta on Thursday. Since then, Sunni militants have carried out several attacks on Shiites.

A recent report from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said 1,138 people were killed in Karachi in the first six months of 2011, of whom 490 were victims of political, ethnic and sectarian violence.

Continued fallout in U.S./Pakistan relations

The Pakistani government has imposed restrictions on the movement of U.S. diplomats and other embassy officials in the country, media reports said on Friday. All U.S. diplomats will now require to get a special certificate for travelling to other cities, Geo television reported.

The U.S. has also imposed similar curbs on Pakistani diplomats and embassy staffers in the U.S., following allegations that two Pakistani diplomats were on the payroll of Pakistan's spy agency the ISI earlier this month.