Strike in Pakistan: 57 killed

Shops closed in Karachi on Friday to observe a strike called by Sunni Muslim clerics to protest this week's suicide bombing that killed 57 people in the southern Pakistani city, including three moderate Sunni leaders.

No one claimed responsibility for Tuesday's bombing at a religious gathering in Karachi organized by the moderate Sunni Tehrik group to mark the birthday of Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

The attack sparked clashes between angry Islamists and police, prompting authorities to deploy troops to restore order. Nobody was injured in the violence, although mobs burned several buses and vehicles.

Friday's daylong strike came a day after more than 50,000 mourners attended the funerals of the three religious leaders.

Shops were shuttered and few vehicles were seen on the roads in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, due to fears that strike could turn violent.

Meanwhile, Islamists in Karachi, the eastern city of Lahore, the northwestern city of Peshawar and the southwestern city of Quetta held small rallies condemning the attack and demanding the immediate arrest of those responsible. The protesters dispersed peacefully later.

Silahuddin Hyder, spokesman for the government of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, said there have so far been no reports of violence.

Some shop owners in other parts of the country also closed their shops in sympathy with the strike, though most businesses remained open elsewher, reports the AP.


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