Pakistani security forces search troubled Karachi areas

An official from the paramilitary Rangers said troops had set up checkpoints and increased spot checks in tense areas.

Pakistani security forces search troubled Karachi areas

Pakistani police and paramilitary troops fanned out through Karachi neighbourhoods on Wednesday to help quell two days of violence in the country's commercial capital that killed at least 35 people.

Security officials said several people were detained in raids in districts affected by the fighting linked to the ethnic and religious tensions that have long plagued Karachi, home to the country's main port, stock exchange and central bank.

An official from the paramilitary Rangers said troops had set up checkpoints and increased spot checks in tense areas.

"We have deployed troops in most of the troubled areas, and will take strong action if we see any trouble," he said. "We also conducted an operation last night, where we cordoned off some of the troubled areas and detained some suspects."

Most districts were calm on Wednesday, though there were reports of three bodies found in different areas.

Officials say more than 300 people were killed in Karachi in July alone -- one of the deadliest months in almost 20 years.

Further action pledged

Officials pledged further action to curb violence.

"We will carry out specific and targeted operations in the troubled areas, based on intelligence reports," said Sharfuddin Memon, an adviser at the provincial home minister. "We are hopeful these actions will help restore peace in the city."

Memon put the death toll this week at least 35.

Trouble has persisted despite the deployment of hundreds of new troops to tackle last month upsurge in violence in western Orangi town district. About 100 people died in three days.

Rangers took control of the area, but violence has since spread to other parts of the city of more than 18 million, prompting severe criticism of authorities.

"There has been no action yet against those involved in violence," Hussain, who has lived in self-imposed exile since 1992, said in a statement.

"Given the attitude of the government and the law enforcement agencies, I request the public to buy rations for at least a month, even if they have to sell something valuable for that."

Though many investors are used to violence in Karachi and other regions, extended lawlessness can only add to concerns.

Sentiment at the stock market was hurt by the trouble, and the main index ended 2.33 percent lower on Wednesday.

"The worsening law and order situation is one of the reasons for the low volumes in the market in recent days," said Khalid Iqbal Siddiqui, a director at brokers Invest and Finance Securities Ltd.

"Everyone seems to be worried about the situation in Karachi and no one is ready to take fresh positions in this situation."

Reuters

Last Mod: 03 Ağustos 2011, 15:06
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