Gunmen shot and killed 45 people, including a provincial lawmaker and his bodyguard at a mosque, while shops and vehicles were torched in the southern city of Pakistan city of Karachi as security forces tried regaining control of the city late Monday.
The Pakistani army and Ranger units were dispatched to help retake control of the city, but as of early Tuesday there were still reports of sporadic gunfire and arsons.
Raza Haider of the ruling local party- the MQM- and his bodyguard were shot to death inside a mosque by gunmen who escaped by motorcycle, which sparked ongoing arson and revenge attacks throughout the city Monday night. Officials say that many of the dead were shot execution style and cautioned that Haider's funeral procession could be targeted by a follow-up suicide bombing attack. Independent observers also claim that most members and officials of political parties are also involved in running protection rackets or illegal land dealings.
ELSEWHERE- Unruly, armed mobs seemed pretty tame compared to what Nature dished out in the Swat Valley in northern Pakistan. Floodwaters brought on by monsoon rains tore through the strife torn and impoverished Swat Valley over the weekend, claiming an estimated 1200 lives. Floodwaters continued to overflow the banks of the Swat and Kabul rivers. Rising water levels at the Warsak Dam have prompted officials to ask residents in the norther outskirts of Peshawar to voluntarily evacuate early Tuesday.
The USA is sending helicopters, boats, water purification units and temporary bridges to the stricken area while the Chinese have donated 10 million Yuan (US$1.5 million) in initial aid.