CLASHES that broke out in Karachi in the Lyari area on Tuesday between rival groups have left 11 people dead, including women and children. Dozens more have been injured. Sounds of gunfire that thundered throughout Lyari point to the absence of the government's writ. The bloodshed started with the kidnapping of a boy, but it is believed to be ethnically motivated. The agony of the harassed citizens, who were virtually trapped inside their homes, increased manifold when a stray rocket fired by one of the groups hit a residential compound. The hapless people must have been further scared to see heavy contingents of the police and Rangers remaining silent spectators to the fighting that lasted for more than 24-hours. The situation is so bad that the police, which is reported to have effected a truce between the two groups, is not sure when violence might erupt again. Business activity in the area suffered heavily, as all shops were shut. The angry protesters later torched dozens of cars, demanding that the authorities arrest the terrorists. The government ought to look thoroughly into the violent situation. And it must bring to justice those who are involved in it. Given the fact that the warring groups have political support behind them, there are fears that the city might return to the ethnic violence that plagued it back in the 1990s. In the last few weeks, clashes between different ethnic groups have been frequently reported. The death of an ANP worker last Friday has caused quite a commotion. Apart from that, targeted killings and kidnappings are also on the rise. Shopkeepers and the general public worry that the situation might get worse. Karachi is the nerve-centre of Pakistan's commerce and industry. Unrest there will be catastrophic not only for the government, but the entire country. The political parties in the province have a role to play as well. They would not be serving the national cause, if they urge their workers to choose aggression.