Karachi Riots Leave 45 Dead After MP Assassinated

An uneasy calm reigned in the Pakistani city of Karachi tonight after the assassination of a senior politician triggered city-wide riots that left 45 people dead and more than 100 wounded. Buildings and vehicles were set ablaze and angry mobs surged through the streets of the country's largest city after Raza Haider, an MP with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), was killed in a gangland-style hit on Monday night. The violence underscored bubbling ethnic and political tensions in Karachi, a sprawling seaside metropolis that is home to 16 million people and Pakistan's most important port, banks and stock exchange. Four assailants gunned down Haider, who is a parliamentarian in the Sindh assembly, in a city mosque during a funeral service. Anarchy gripped the city over the following hours as gunmen swarmed through the streets, seeking revenge. The MQM, which ruled Karachi until earlier this year, represents the city's Mohajir community; most of those killed and injured in the reprisal shootings came from the smaller Pashtun community. At the Jinnah postgraduate medical centre, where 54 people were being treated, ambulance drivers said most of the injured had been shot at point-blank range and appeared to have been targeted for their ethnicity. "Most of the injured are Pashtuns, with a few Sindhis and Punjabis among the victims," said one source. Jan Sardar, a 35-year-old Pashtun, was shot seven times. "When they fired the first shot, I jumped in a sewer to save myself, but they came after me and fired more bullets," he said from his hospital bed. The gunman was carrying an MQM flag, he added. Clothes trader Ahmed Shah, who was shot in the leg, was travelling in a bus with 50 passengers when it came under fire. "I didn't see who it was; it was dark," he said. A cousin said he saw seven dead bodies at the site. Iqbal Hussain, a teenager from Swat, said he was left for dead after a gunman burst into his house in north Karachi, opening fire. A less fortunate friend was ki