Islamabad: The death toll in a fresh outbreak of violence in Pakistan's biggest city Karachi rose yesterday to more than 40 killed in two days, police and media reports said.
Fear gripped the city's several densely populated areas where more than two dozen bodies stuffed in gunny sacks were found and hit-and-run gunmen spread panic.
More than 300 killings in Karachi were reported during July after which heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces restored relative calm in some worst-affected areas but violence surfaced in other parts of the city.
The latest flareup in Lyari and surrounding areas followed killing of a former federal lawmaker of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP).
According to the police gunmen on motorbikes killed Waja Karmdad, a former PPP National Assembly member from Lyari, a stronghold of the party. He was attacked on Wednesday evening while he was taking food along with an aide at a roadside eatery. The same day, bodies of several Lyari youth stuffed in gunny bags were found, after which relatives and others carrying the corpses staged a sit-in near the provincial chief minister's official residence but dispersed peacefully.
More bodies were recovered from different areas yesterday and incidents of firing claimed many lives, raising the death toll to over 40, the reports said.
Reports said wholesale markets in Karachi remained closed yesterday to press their demand for strict action against criminal groups involved in extorting money from them through threats of violence.
The latest eruption came as PPP and Karachi-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the second largest party in Sindh province, were engaged in talks amid signs the MQM was close to rejoining the government. The party had withdrawn from the ruling coalition in June.
President of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Saeed Shafiq, demanded tough action by the government.