Bhutto Assassination Sparks Riots
Nationwide riots continued early Friday following the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, with angry mobs torching dozens of vehicles and government buildings, ransacking several banks and shops, and clashing with police. At least 15 people were killed in violence that began after Bhutto was shot dead at a political rally in the city of Rawalpindi on Thursday afternoon. Most of the riots centered in the southern province of Sindh, her political stronghold.
Thousands of distraught supporters took to the streets in Sindh's provincial capital Karachi, blocked roads with burning tyres and pelted riot police with stones. Around 100 vehicles were set on fire, according to several Pakistani-based television stations.
"The entire city is on fire," said local resident Khuda Baksh.
Five people were killed and three injured during unrest in three districts of Karachi, where Bhutto had survived a suicide bombing on her return home from exile two months ago that killed more than 140 people.
All land routes linking the city with the rest of the country were blocked after Pakistan Railways officials suspended service. Mobs had ransacked several railway stations and set a train on fire. Roads in and out of the city had already been blocked by the mobs.
Protesters chanting anti-government slogans ransacked dozens of offices of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), the political backer of President Pervez Musharraf, in several cities.
Paramilitary troops were patrolling in Sindh province's Sukkur district, where more than 500 vehicles and motorbikes were set ablaze. Six people died during the unrest in the nearby district of Kherpur and four more died in other parts of the province.
Musharraf appealed for calm in a brief nationwide address some four hours after Bhutto's assassination.
"I appeal to the nation to remain peaceful and demonstrate patience and tolerance" he said.
But several cities and towns remained under the control of rioters, who looted several banks and ATM machines.
In the eastern city of Lahore, protesters abducted half a dozen policeman and tortured them before setting them free. Groups of armed supporters of Bhutto fired gunshots into the air in some parts of the city.
There were also reports of similar unrest in the North-West Frontier and Balochistan provinces.
Fifteen dead in Pakistan riots after Bhutto assassination : Asia World
I hope everyone is safe in Pakistan and that peace is restored shortly
As they say "Show must go on"....
Tags: Riots , Politics , Agitatation , Protests , News , Strikes
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