Calls to bring in the army to impose a curfew in Karachi became louder on Tuesday, as the death toll from political-ethnic violence rose to 100 in the past three days.
On Tuesday, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), the city’s main political party — which made the call to bring in the army — observed a day of mourning for those killed in the clashes that began last month.
However, Pakistan’s main political parties, the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the opposition PML-N party have unanimously ruled out calling the army into Karachi.
“This is the worst signal a democratic government can give to its people,” said PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, who is otherwise a bitter critic of the Zardari government.
The PPP has hinted that the MQM might be behind the violence. “I am not taking any names, but the killings point to certain political parties,” information minister Shrajeel Memon said on Monday.
The MQM has rejected the insinuation as baseless allegations.
Certain groups also opine that the interference from Islamabad is proving to be counterproductive to efforts to dispel tensions.
Former home minister for the province, Zulfikar Mirza, told interior minister Rehman Malik to “keep out of Karachi” after Malik came to hold talks with the MQM.
The MQM has also joined other parties in demanding that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani resign if he cannot bring the situation, which is spiralling out of control, under check.