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Karachi On Edge As Mourners Bury Bomb Victims

One of the Karachi blasts targeted a hospital.
KARACHI (Reuters) -- Pakistan's commercial capital, Karachi, was tense today a day after two bombs killed 31 people, raising further questions about the effectiveness of security crackdowns on Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Most shops in the sprawling city of 18 million people were closed and public transport was off the roads as several thousand mourners attended funerals of some of the victims of the two bombs, which wounded 170 people.

The first attack on February 5 targeted Shi'ites traveling in a bus to a religious procession, followed hours later by a blast at a hospital where the wounded were being treated.

Pakistani Taliban have carried out waves of bombings at crowded markets and army and police facilities since October, killing hundreds of people in a bid to topple the pro-American government of unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari.

Al-Qaeda-linked Sunni Muslim militant groups have often carried out attacks on their rivals from Pakistan's Shi'ite Muslim minority.

"It looks like there's no government in Pakistan," said Shi'ite Muslim Syed Shabbir Hussain, who lost a cousin in the first blast.

"They always say that there are militants here, and that they will attack. And then they attack, but the police and the government do nothing," he said at his cousin's funeral.

The government appealed for calm.

"We are at war with these terrorists who are against our country, who are against our religion," said Zulfiqar Mirza, provincial government interior minister.

Mrza said some arrests had been made but he declined to give any details.

Carnage in the home of Pakistan's stock exchange and main port could further discourage investors, who have watched the Taliban spread their violent campaign from strongholds in lawless areas near the Afghan border to major cities.

Later, a bomb exploded on a street in the southwestern city of Quetta, capital of Baluchistan province, wounding seven people, police said. Separatist militants are waging a low-level insurgency in the gas-rich province.