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Violence in Karachi after UK death

Gangs have torched vehicles and a shop in Pakistan's largest city after a senior politician from the local ruling party was stabbed to death in London.

Petrol stations, schools and markets in Karachi were closed and no public transport was running as news of the stabbing of Imran Farooq spread. The city has a history of political violence, and revenge attacks and acts of arson often follow killings.

Mr Farooq was a member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, one of Pakistan's major parties and the largest in the coalition governing Karachi. The MQM is also an important member of the federal government in Islamabad.

The killing could have implications for national political stability, especially if the MQM accuses its rivals of being involved.

On Friday, an MQM leader said the party thought Mr Farooq, 50, was killed in response to controversial statements made by the leader of party, who himself lives in self-imposed exile in London. The Metropolitan Police said no arrests had been made and did not speculate on the motive.

Mr Farooq's body was found in north London on Thursday with multiple stab wounds and head wounds.

Murad Qureshi, a member of the London Assembly, said he believed Mr Farooq had been targeted by opponents. "I wouldn't be surprised at all if it turns out that this is an assassination," he said.

In a statement, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani condemned the killing.

On Friday morning, more than a dozen people broke into a plastics shop and set it on fire near the MQM headquarters, witnesses said. Elsewhere in the city, youths blocked the main road and torched two buses, a local resident said. Local media reports also said some vehicles were burned and shots fired.

The MQM is accused by critics and opponents of being involved in illegal activities in the city. Hundreds of its supporters have been killed over the past 20 years, including leaders, in gang warfare in Karachi, including dozens this year alone.

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