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306 dead within month in ethnic, political violence in Karachi: police

(Xinhua)

09:06, August 30, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Supreme Court of Pakistan was told on Monday that 306 people were killed within one month in the country's commercial center of Karachi as the result of ethnic and sectarian attacks.

Police Chief for southern Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, presented a report before a five-member bench of the Supreme Court, which listed deaths and other details of violence between July 24 and August 24.

The Chief Justice, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, had taken a suo moto notice of the wave of recent violence and the bench heard the case in Karachi.

Sindh Police Chief, Wajid Durrani, in his report said that more than one ethnic group are involved in the recent violence, who had been active in 100 areas of the city of 18 million multi-ethnic population.

On a question from the Chief Justice the police chief said that 17 dead bodies were found in bags, of which 8 people's throats were slashed.

Durrani admitted that there are several areas known as "no-go areas" in the city where the police and the general public cannot freely move because a dominant group blocks entry of rivals.

The Chief Justice also sought reports from the main spy agency ISI and military intelligence by Tuesday.

The police chief said that a total of 32,000 policemen are performing duties in areas of 112 police stations in the city. The report said that a total of 78 vehicles were torched and rival groups clashed for 146 times. The police arrested 20 target killers in a month time

He said besides ethnic and sectarian elements, gangs of land grabbers and those extorting money from the traders are also involved in the violence. He informed the court that a total of 232 cases of various crimes had been registered in a month time.

Apart from the police report, the Federal Investigation Agency and a police intelligence agency also presented their reports and the Attorney General requested the court that certain sensitive parts of the reports should not be made part of court record and should also not be released to the media. But the Chief Justice said that the court will have to make reports part of the record for writing verdicts.

The Chief Justice asked the police chief if the investigators ever asked any recovered person as to who or which group had kidnapped him. The police chief replied that the recovered men were so terrified that they were unable to record statements.

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