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Karachi violence death toll rises to 52 in 4 days

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By Associated Press

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — The death toll from four days of violence sparked by a contentious local election in Pakistan's largest city rose to 52 on Wednesday when at least one person was shot and killed despite efforts to restore order.

Security forces patrolled the southern city of Karachi to prevent fresh violence and in many neighborhoods, businesses shut down while public transportation was scarce.

"The atmosphere of terror is everywhere," said local resident Mohammad Sadiq. "People are scared to come out of their houses."

Many of the slayings in Karachi — including the ones that started Saturday evening — have been linked to gangs allegedly controlled by political parties. This wave of violence coincided with Sunday's election to replace a provincial lawmaker killed in August.

Karachi, a port city of about 16 million, has a long history of political, ethnic and religious strife. But this year has been exceptionally bloody. The city has seen around 300 "targeted killings," mostly among the gangs, since June. That is roughly twice the number for all of 2009.


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