Aug. 23 - Pakistan's commercial capital Karachi comes to a standstill, shutting down for a day of mourning in protest at surging violence. Travis Brecher reports.
Pakistan's normally bustling commercial hub of Karachi grinds to a halt, after the city's dominant political party called for a day of mourning in protest against ongoing bloodshed in the city. Karachi has been gripped by escalating political and ethnic violence, as well as gang wars in recent months -- and nearly 100 people have been killed in the last week alone. As police and paramilitary troops patrol the city, resident are nervous. One man says Pakistanis just want peace. (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) MOHAMMAD ARIF, RESIDENT OF KARACHI, SAYING: "Now, everyone prays for peace in the city, peace in the country. This is our heart. We want calm here. May Allah bless us with peace." Another resident is angry at the government's failure to contain the violence. (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) MOHAMMAD ALTAF, PRIVATE COMPANY EMPLOYEE, SAYING: "The government should quit now. Everybody is waiting for a saviour to arrive and restore peace and order." The city of 18 million has a long history of ethnic, religious, and sectarian disputes. According to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, 800 people were killed in the first seven months of this year in ethnic and politically-linked violence. Travis Brecher, Reuters