KARACHI - At least three people were killed in separate incidents of target killing in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi over last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 55 over the last week, police said on Sunday.

Unrest prevailed in the city during the last week where at least four people were killed in separate politically motivated attacks while seven others were shot in various incidents of sectarian violence and religious confrontation. The killed political activists included one from the country’s leading party, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), two from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and one from Awami National Party (ANP). On Oct. 19, a female provincial assembly member of PPP, Kalsoom was injured in an attack near Punjab Chowrangi in Karachi. The attackers fled from the scene. Chief Minister of Sindh Qaim Ali Shah took notice of the incident and sought a report from the Inspector General Karachi Police.

All the three parties are the coalition partners in the National Assembly, but their workers are at odds with each other in Karachi on ethnic basis, as the PPP represent Sindi speaking people, MQM represents Urdu speaking people and ANP is the representative of Pashto speaking people. The killed religious activists were from the leading group of Sunni Muslims in the city, Ahlus Suunah Wa Jamaah who were killed on sectarian basis by the Shia Muslims.

Four policemen and a paramilitary soldier were also shot down in separate incidents of target killing over the last week.

Two of the killed policemen were targeted when some unknown gunmen opened fire at a police mobile on Oct.18. Two others were killed on Oct.16 and Oct. 17 respectively. The killing of policemen raised concerns of the authorities as the Law enforcement agencies are in confrontation with heavily armed and well trained militants in the city. According to Karachi police, over 80 policemen have been gunned down in separate incidents of target killing in the city since the beginning of this year.

Meanwhile, a lawyer and a senior educator also became victim of target killing.

The supreme court of Pakistan has taken notice of the killing of the lawyer and sought a report from the authorities concerned over the incident. Over the last week, police arrested at least 18 alleged target killers from various areas of the city. Over 20 people were injured in various incidents of firing in the city.

According to media reports, over 1,800 people have been killed in Karachi since the beginning of this year and most of these killings were triggered by either sectarian or political confrontation. Schools and business activities were badly affected in the areas where killing frequently happened. The business community of the city held a press conference on Friday and expressed serious concerns over deterioration of situation in the largest business hub of the country.

Talking to journalists in Karachi Press Club, S M Muneer, the spokesman of businessmen community of Karachi demanded the government to deploy Army in the restive areas of the city to protect people’s lives and restore normal business and other activities in the city.