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Karachi Businesses Shut After Gunmen Kill 66 People This Week

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Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Businesses and schools shut today in Pakistan’s financial hub and largest city of Karachi after four days of violence left 66 people dead.

A gun attack on the city’s Sher Shah Market yesterday killed 13 people, said Karachi’s chief of police, Fayyaz Leghari, adding 60 had been injured in shootings this week. Police were investigating the “causes and conspiracies behind the violence,” Leghari said by phone, and had detained 85 suspects.

Political and communal killings have spiraled this year in Karachi, a port city of 18 million people, with members of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, and the Awami National Party shot dead in gun battles. This week’s violence coincided with an Oct. 17 election to replace a local MQM lawmaker assassinated at a mosque on Aug. 2.

The city is also used as a refuge by militants fleeing army attacks on the Taliban in the country’s northwest.

Karachi serves as the Pakistan headquarters for companies such as Citigroup Inc. and Unilever. Business leaders, transport companies and political parties called for a complete shutdown in the city to protest yesterday’s killings.

To contact the reporter on this story: Khurrum Anis in Karachi at kkhan14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Williams at mwilliams108@bloomberg.net