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Pakistan Sends More Police to Karachi on Terror Warning

Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The chief minister of Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh ordered reserve police into Karachi, days after the country’s top security official warned of imminent terrorist attacks in the city.

Reserve contingents from the province’s 23 districts should start arriving in the city today and will be deployed in sensitive areas, the daily Dawn newspaper said, citing Sharjeel Memon, Sindh’s Minister for Information. “Well-coordinated operations will be launched against criminals in the city,” Memon told the paper.

The bolstering of security in Karachi, which is the capital of Sindh and Pakistan’s commercial hub, comes 72 hours after federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik warned of possible attacks. Malik has been criticized by opposition politicians and allies for spreading panic.

The city of 18 million people witnesses spikes in violence involving members of rival political parties, ethnic communities or criminal gangs. More than 2,000 people were killed last year. Last month, politicians of major political parties moved to put their differences aside to confront Taliban militants they hold responsible for recent bombings.

Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah urged security forces to remain vigilant in a statement issued by his office. The Express Tribune newspaper cited Memon as saying a recent surge in killings in the city aimed to create instability ahead of general elections scheduled for May.

Thirteen people died in attacks yesterday in Karachi as gunmen targeted a popular cleric among others, police said. Private security camera footage, aired by television channels, showed assailants firing into the car of the cleric, who belonged to the Deoband school of Islamic practice.

To thwart bombings, mobile-phone services will be suspended between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. local time today, Geo TV said, citing Malik.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net

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