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Violence Ensnares Karachi for a 5th Straight Day

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“Gun-wielding arsonists and violent vandals are on the loose everywhere. Various areas have plunged into total chaos,” a Pakistani news anchor reported. Since a bombing claimed the lives of 48 and injured more than 200 in a Shia Muslim neighbourhood, violence has overrun the city of Karachi. The bomb that went off last Sunday as worshippers were leaving mosque, leveled two blocks of apartments in the process. Survivors have been taken to local schools for shelter.  The bombing sparked protests and gun battles in the middle of the streets, shuttering educational institutions, businesses and markets. International sporting events have been cancelled or moved to other cities.   Described by the Huffington Post as “tit-for-tat sectarian killings” between Sunnis and Shiites, the Taliban’s presence in the Pakistani port city has only worsened the situation. According to the Citizens’ Police Liaison Committee 1,936 lives have been lost from November to December making 2012 Pakistani’s deadliest year since 1994. Karachi 1 Karachi’s population has swelled from 435,000 in 1947 at the time of partition to 18 million today. The friction has been attributed to the differences between the Muttahida Quami Movement (that represents the Mohajirs) and the Awami National Party (that represents the Pashtuns). With the US fighting their own war in the North-West, the Taliban’s presence in Karachi has not helped matters much either.   The police have had little effect on the city’s unrest with disarmament laws proving increasingly ineffective. While locals of every class barricade themselves at home in terror, loved one’s around the world wonder when the unrest will come to an end.  

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