Page last updated at 14:58 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Eight reported killed in Karachi explosion


Pictures from the scene of the blast

At least eight people have been killed in an explosion at a house in the Pakistani city of Karachi, police said.

The blast happened in Balida Town, a poor neighbourhood of the southern city, Pakistan's commercial hub.

Police said explosives stored at the house may have gone off and that the dead were believed to be militants.

In December, a blast at a Shia Muslim march in Karachi, claimed by the Taliban, killed 43 people and injured dozens more.

"The terrorists themselves are the victims of their own explosives," the AFP news agency quoted Karachi police chief Waseem Ahmad as saying.

Police say that eight bodies were pulled out from the rubble of the house.

They say that hand grenades, Kalashnikov rifles and suicide vests were also recovered from the scene.

"So far, evidence on the ground shows the occupants of this house were trying to shift explosives and weapons when the blast occurred," Mr Ahmad said.

"It seemed they were using two motorcycles we found in the rubble to transport the explosives."

Targeted killings

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters that the people living in the house were from the Swat Valley, a north-western district which was until recently a Taliban stronghold.

Separately, at least eight people have been killed in what appear to be incidents of targeted killings of mostly ethnic Balochis in parts of Karachi on Thursday.

A survivor of the explosion at a house in Karachi on 8 January
The police suspect explosives stored in the house led to the blast

The killings were apparently triggered off by the discovery of a beheaded body of a member of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) in the old city's Lyari district.

The MQM has dominated politics in Karachi since the mid-1980s.

Unknown gunmen then went on a rampage in the area, killing seven people, mostly ethnic Balochis, police said.

An eyewitness told BBC Urdu's Riaz Sohail in Karachi that two or three victims of the killings were sitting outside their house and repairing an auto rickshaw when armed men riding motorcycles gunned them down.

Karachi is dominated by Urdu-speaking people whose families migrated to Pakistan from India at the time of India's Partition in 1947 - they form the main support base of MQM.

The Lyari district is mostly populated by ethnic Balochi people, who mostly support President Asif Ali Zardari's Pakistan People's Party.

Pakistan has seen an upsurge in violence in recent months.

Hundreds of civilians have died in bomb attacks as Pakistan's army concludes an offensive against Taliban militants in South Waziristan and surrounding areas.

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