Ethno-political violence kills 19 in Pakistan
At least 19 people have been killed in clashes between rival groups of the majority Urdu-speaking people in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi, paramedics said on Saturday.
The fighting started in the Maleer and Landhi areas of the city on Friday morning, when armed men belonging to the Mohajir Qaumi Movement and Motahida Qaumi Movement opened fire on each other.
"So far 19 people have been killed and 25 injured in the fighting between the rival gangs," Sajjad Ali of the Edhi ambulance service told the German Press Agency dpa by phone.
Both groups claim to be the true political representatives of the people who migrated from India at the time of partition in 1947 and settled in Karachi.
The Mohajir Qaumi Movement separated from the mainstream Motahida in the 1990s and since then the two groups have been at loggerheads and dozens of rival supporters have been killed.
Saud Mirza, city police chief, said police and paramilitary Rangers have been deployed in various areas to control the violence.
Karachi has witnessed violence in recent months but mostly between the majority Urdu-speaking and minority Pashtu-speaking ethnic groups. Two weeks ago around 90 people were killed and over 170 injured in fighting.
Pashtu speakers have their origins in the north-western province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and migrated over the years to find better jobs in Karachi, the financial hub of the country.
The ethnic groups have competed for political influence for the last three decades, resulting in hundreds of deaths.