Page last updated at 07:43 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Karachi ethnic clashes 'kill 12'

The Karachi district of Orangi
Dozens of people have been killed over the past weeks

At least 12 people have been killed in two days of violence in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, police say.

The killings appear to be the result of targeted attacks by rival ethnic and political groups, they say.

Dozens of people have been killed in similar attacks across the city over the past few weeks.

Police say sporadic gunfire is still continuing in parts of Karachi, a city of 17 million people and the country's financial hub.

The latest spate of killings started when ethnic Pashtun activists working for the Awami National Party (ANP) were attacked by unknown gunmen on Friday.

The attack was followed by shootings across the Pashtun-dominated Orangi district, in western Karachi.

The Karachi chief of the ANP, Shahid Syed, blamed activists loyal to the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) for the attack.

The MQM denied the allegations. The MQM represents the city's majority Urdu-speaking community which migrated from India at the time of the partition in 1947.

Last month, MQM activists were blamed for carrying out similar attacks against ethnic Baloch residents in Karachi.

The Urdu-speaking people mostly support the MQM, while the Baloch people are supporters of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

The two parties share power in federal and local government.

Last month's violence was brought to a halt following a meeting of PPP and MQM leaders to settle their political differences.

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