Why Karachi is seething

Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, is once again paralyzed by ethnic and political violence that has killed at least 65 people. In the past year, an estimated 1,300 people have died in the fighting.

3. How are politics and ethnic rivalries involved?

Traditionally, political tension has been between the powerful political and ethnic party MQM, which represents Urdu-speaking people, and the ANP, which represents Pashtuns who settled here from the northwest.

The rivalry between the two heightened in recent years in face of massive migration of Pashtuns due to the operations against Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters along Afghanistan border.

Rivals accuse MQM of being involved in violence and militancy during the past two decades, an allegation that the party denies.

The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) tries to balance its ties with both of the rivals, while its detractors accuse it of trying to further gain political power. MQM also accuses “certain elements within ruling PPP” of supporting criminal gangsters.

“It is to sabotage the reconciliation efforts between MQM and PPP,” says Reza Haroon, an MQM leader. “The terrorism and target killings of our community members are like genocide.”

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