Karachi: Security forces step up patrols as 4 more killed

KARACHI : Police and paramilitary units stepped up patrols on Thursday in parts of Karachi in an effort to quell politically motivated killings that killed four more people today.Members of the Rangers paramilitary and police were patrolling Layari, a low-income southern neighbourhood and other sensitive areas where the violence has been concentrated, police said.At least four people were reported killed in firing incidents at different tense areas of the city.Much of the city shut down on Wednesday to protest against the killings but a foreign news agency said businesses and schools had re-opened despite another two killings overnight.“Two more people were killed in shooting incidents overnight,” Karachi police chief Fayyaz Leghari told the media.“Extra police and Rangers have been deployed in sensitive areas of the city to prevent further untoward incidents,” Leghari said.Waqar Mehdi, a special adviser to the Sindh chief minister, said more than 70 people had been killed in different parts of the city since Saturday.“The death toll has risen to 72 but situation is returning to normal,” Mehdi.Interior Minister Rehman Malik arrived in Karachi on Thursday for a second time this week to help efforts to end the unrest.

President Asif Ali Zardari, who comes from Karachi, discussed the crisis with Malik on Wednesday and said peace would be restored “at all costs”.The political violence in recent months has been the worst in Karachi for years, with 85 people killed after a lawmaker was shot dead in August and more than 70 since Saturday, the eve of the vote to elect the MP’s successor.Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has expressed confidence that the political leadership can exert control, saying no decision had been taken to send the army to Karachi.

Calls for military intervention of any kind are deeply sensitive in Pakistan, which has been ruled for more than half its existence by the army and which has been subject to four military coups.Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which represents the Urdu-speaking majority in Karachi and the Awami National Party (ANP), whose power base is rooted in Pashtun migrants from the northwest, blame each other over the violence – Sananews