Page last updated at 16:05 GMT, Thursday, 10 April 2008 17:05 UK

Karachi is calmer after clashes

Violence broke out in Karachi on 9 April 2008
Many vehicles were set on fire by the rioters

The Pakistani city of Karachi is returning to normal after at least ten people died in clashes on Wednesday.

Police say the clashes between rival groups of lawyers soon became full scale riots, with offices and cars set alight in parts of the southern city.

Violence initially broke out when supporters of President Musharraf held a protest against Tuesday's assault on a former cabinet minister by attorneys.

Sher Afgan Niazi, a former government minister, had been attacked by a mob.

The BBC's correspondent in Karachi, Ilyas Khan, reports that most public transport was off the road on Wednesday morning, but almost back as normal by the end of the day.

Differing explanations

Witnesses say the trouble escalated after a rally to support Mr Niazi - staged by lawyers allied to the Karachi-based regional party, the MQM - was attacked by lawyers from other parties.

Police say that MQM supporters in the old part of Karachi retaliated by taking to the streets and torching cars, offices and businesses.

Soldier in Karachi

They also say that six people were killed when rioters set fire to lawyers' chambers in a building adjacent to the city court in downtown Karachi.

The police add that those burned to death included a woman.

Our correspondent says that it is difficult to get a clear and independent picture of what exactly happened during Wednesday's violence because all the parties accused of being involved - the MQM, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) - have put forward differing explanations.

He says that it is, however, clear that Karachi is at its most tense since violent clashes between the MQM and other parties last year.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific