Karachi tense after politician′s murder | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 17.09.2010
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Karachi tense after politician's murder

The city of Karachi in Pakistan has been put on high alert after a prominent politician was killed outside his home in London on Thursday. Security in the city has been put on high alert after fears that certain groups.

The death scene in Edgeware, London

The death scene in Edgeware, London

A leading politician from the Pakistani Muttahida Qaumi Movement or MQM has been murdered in London. Police there said they received news of an assault in Edgeware, London at 5:30 pm GMT on Thursday. The victim of the assault was Imran Farooq, one of the founders of MQM. A sokesman for London's Metropolitan police said that the 50-year old had suffered several fatal stab wounds and had also wounds to his head.

Murder shocks people in Karachi

Karachi local media reported demonstrations after reports of Farooq's murder surfaced. However, the streets remained largely empty as transport service providers kept off the roads for fear of ethnic violence. Traders have also kept their shops and businesses closed.

The MQM, a political party, has meanwhile declared a 10-day period of mourning as a sign of respect for the leader. The Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has also condemned the murder. His office has termed it an "assassination".

Political rivalry

MQM chief in exile, Altaf Hussain

MQM chief in exile, Altaf Hussain

Imran Farooq is one of the founding members of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) which is a partner in the ruling coalition in Sindh province. Imran Farooq sought asylum in Britain after he claimed his rivals were trying to kill him. He worked as a pharmacist in London. Altaf Hussain, MQM's exiled chief, has also condemned the killing.The party's leader in Pakistan, Farooq Sattar, said that the murdered politican had contributed immensely to the party. He hoped the killer would be caught and punished soon.

Ethnic riots broke out in Karachi last month after an MQM member was murdered. The MQM represents those who migrated from India to Pakistan in 1947. The Awami National Party or the ANP is MQM's biggest rival and is believed to represent the Pashtun population in Karachi which hails from the border areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in North West Pakistan. The battle between the two rivals is not only political, but also one which has to do with controlling land in Karachi. Their differences have taken on ethnic and communal proportions in the past. Although there are suspicions that this rivalry may have something to do with the killings, police in London have said they have not found any proof that the murder was politically motivated.


Editor: Grahame Lucas

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