by Misbah Saba Malik
ISLAMABAD, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- At least five more people were gunned down in separate incidents of violence in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 38 in such attacks during the week from Jan. 15 to Jan. 22, local media and police said.
Among the killings, four were attributed to political reasons as three activists and a provincial minister of Karachi's main political party, Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), were killed in separate incidents of firing.
Javed Odho, Deputy Inspector General of Karachi Police said that the MQM's Provincial Assembly Member, Syed Manzar Imam and his three bodyguards were killed in firing by unknown gunmen on Thursday.
Both President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf condemned the attack and directed concerned police officials to launch a crackdown against the suspected attackers.
Three other activists were killed separately in attacks by unknown gunmen.
Later on, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) claimed responsibility for the killing of the MQM activists and leader.
Earlier on Sunday, four people were injured when a bomb carrying an estimated four kg of explosive materials was detonated by a remote controlled device in the down town area of the city.
Ahmed Baig, Senior Superintendent Police said that the bomb targeted a local architect who was apparently attacked by the powerful extortion mafia active in the city since decades.
During last week, at least eight people were killed in sectarian attacks across the city.
Police said that in the recent spate of sectarian attacks, five Shia and three Sunni Muslims including a prayer leader were killed in separate incidents of the target killing.
Local Shia and Sunni religious groups in the city condemned the attacks and demanded provincial government to curb such attacks.
Business and educational activities came to a standstill in the affected areas and the residents asked concerned authorities to deploy more force to ensure security.
The history of violence and targeted attacks in Karachi dates back to 1990's but such incidents escalated during the last two years.
According to the data released by Karachi Police earlier in December, over 2200 people lost their lives in separate incidents of targeted attacks on the basis of secretion ethnic and political rivalry in one year.
A police spokesman said target killings claimed only 438 lives in the city while the remaining killings were based on personal clashes and enmities of the residents.
Local watchers believed that the Karachi police failed to curb extortion mafia, terrorists and other elements involved in sectarian and political attacks, making law and order situation vulnerable in the city.
The police, however, said that they did not have enough force to control such a densely populated city.
Talking to media on Dec. 19, a senior official of Karachi police, Iqbal Mahmood said that about 11,000 policemen have been deployed in over 100 police stations in the city, which are not enough to control the city's over 13 million population.