South Asia

Haider murder: Karachi police arrest 'hardliners'

Queues at Karachi petrol station
Image caption There are long queues at the city's petrol stations

Police in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi have arrested suspected "jihadists" following the killing of a leading local politician.

The number of those killed in rioting that followed the killing of Raza Haider rose to 63 on Wednesday. Scores more have been wounded.

There have been sporadic outbreaks of violence in outlying areas of Karachi.

The city, Pakistan's business and commercial capital, has virtually ground to a halt following his murder.

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Karachi says that the city remains tense, with vehicles mostly staying off the roads apart from at petrol stations, where there are long queues. Most businesses are closed.

Police say about 40 people have been arrested in connection with the violence including about 20 suspected Islamist hardliners who may be implicated in Mr Haider's murder.

A Sindh provincial assembly member, he was performing ablutions in a mosque near the city centre on Monday when he was shot dead by four gunmen, according to witnesses. His guard was also killed.

His MQM party declared three days of mourning following his death.

"Hospitals received 14 more bodies of victims of violence overnight, increasing the death toll," said Jameel Soomro, spokesman for the government in the southern province of Sindh.

"In total, around 100 people have been injured. More than a dozen are in a critical condition," he said.

Our correspondent says that MQM leaders believe that Mr Haider could have been targeted because of the party's strong stance against the Taliban and other militant Islamist groups.

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