Residents walk past members of Pakistan's police and paramilitary Rangers forces in the Lyari area of Karachi.—Reuters Photo

KARACHI: As armed men and law-enforcement agencies continued to exchange gunfire in the city’s oldest neighbourhood on Saturday, thousands of Lyari residents remained confined to their homes amid fear for a second consecutive day.

Residents said they had run out of food, water and emergency medicines, but they could not dare go out and get them for fears of being caught in the crossfire.

With the relentless gunfire, frequent ambulance sirens, the absence of power supply and no access to food and health services due to the closure of markets in the area, men, women and children were in a state of trauma, knowing little when normality would return to their neighbourhood.

People said several bullets had hit their houses in the clashes in the strife-hit area of Cheel Chowk, which looked like a war zone with deserted streets strewn with bullet casings.

They said fear and terror had gripped the area as the two boys killed just a day ago in the Kumharwara area had no association with the gangs. “Their only mistake was that they were in the street at a wrong time,” said an elderly person.

He added that despite the prolonged power suspension they had kept windows shut as the smell of gunpowder had filled the air.

A resident, who lives at Cheel Chowk, shared with Dawn the traumatic experience his family had been through.

“Our children had not slept for the past 36 hours as we kept hearing gunfire,” said area resident Elahi Bakhsh, who is associated with a group working on sustainable development.

“My family has no water to drink, but I cannot fetch water as there’s shooting all over the place and the markets are closed,” he said.

Another resident said patients were the worst sufferers, who could not get medicines in the law and order situation.

Besides, the targeted operation and the stiff resistance from gangs had also affected the livelihood of thousands of labourers who have been virtually taken hostage by the renewed wave of violence.


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