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Pakistani Senate Concerned Over Sectarian Killings In Karachi

Security officials inspect the scene of a bombing in Karachi on June 10 that killed one person.
KARACHI, Pakistan -- The Pakistani Senate has expressed concern over sectarian unrest in Karachi and ordered the Interior Ministry to find ways to improve the situation.

Between June 14-15, at least seven people were killed in the latest spate of killings, bringing the total to 20 dead in the last week, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

Mohamamd Ibrahim Mana, a prominent member of the Sunni Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jumaat party, was among the seven recently killed. The Sunni group has a longstanding rivalry with Shi'ite religious groups.

"[Mohamamd Ibrahim Mana] was a leader of our local party and a farmer. He was sitting here in a shop when gunmen opened fire on him," said Ihasanullah Faroqi, a spokesman for Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jumaat.

Mana's death followed that of a Shi'ite man killed in the same town. Following that man's death, the Shi'ite community protested by setting tires on fire and blocking roads.

Karachi police chief Wasim Ahmad blamed religious extremists for causing the chaos.

"Compared to [Pakistan's] other cities, Karachi is a relatively peaceful place," Ahmad said. "But here, from time to time, religious parties create disturbance."

Karachi has a long history of sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shi'ites, as well as between Urdu-speakers and ethnic Pashtuns. In the 1980s and '90s, hundreds of people were killed in mob and other violence.

The seaport of Karachi has a population of some 15.5 million people.