KARACHI: At least eleven people were killed and more than 30 people wounded as violence erupted in Karachi after unidentified armed assailants opened fire at a political rally in the provincial capital on Tuesday, DawnNews reported.
The rally was organised by members and workers of Awami Tehrik Party, a small nationalist group, backed by the banned People’s Amn Committee and several other parties, in protest of the proposed Mohajir province and the recent operation in Lyari.
The ‘Muhabat-e-Sindh’ (Love of Sindh) rally was also attended by a large number of women.
After the procession started off from Lyari, unknown armed miscreants opened fire when it reached the areas of Nawa Lane, Pan Mandi and Juna Market.
Police officer Mohammed Amir said several cars and shops were burned after attackers opened fired on the rally.
Amir said it was unclear who the attackers were. He said authorities were trying to restore order.
Markets in the old city area were immediately shut down in panic.
Our correspondent reported that an infuriated mob set fire to many vehicles and motorcycles, while they also burnt at least two shops.
Incidents of sporadic firing were also reported in different areas of old city, after the initial attack on the rally.
Ayaz Latif Palijo claimed that four activists from his party were also injured during the firing. The Awami Tehrik leader has announced a peaceful strike in Sindh on Wednesday in protest of the incident.
He also said that his party will stage a sit-in protest till the culprits behind the attack are caught.
Marvi Memon, Abdul Hai Baloch and other politicians were also reported to be present during the rally.
Karachi is Pakistan’s commercial hub and is home to 18 million people. The violence Tuesday was a reminder of the port city’s political volatility. Karachi is riven with ethnic tensions. It is home to several political parties allegedly with armed wings that are accused of extorting its citizens and feuding among themselves.