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47 killed after gunmen open fire on passengers of a bus in Karachi

Karachi: At least 47 people of the minority Shiite Ismaili Muslims were killed and dozens injured after armed men on motorbikes opened fire on a bus near Safoora Chowk area in Karachi on Tuesday.

“At least six gunmen attacked a bus in the Safoora Goth area of Karachi,” a senior police official told AFP.

"The gunmen stopped the bus and first fired at it from outside," said the policeman. "Then they entered inside the bus and open fire indiscriminately. After that they checked to see if anyone was left uninjured.”

The attackers managed to escape from the scene after the incident.

"The bus had a capacity of 52 passengers but it was overloaded and dozens of people were boarding it. Most of them were from (the) Ismaili community," he added.

An official of the Ismaili National Council, a group which represents the community, added: "We have confirmation of five dead and dozens injured including women and children in an attack on a bus owned by our community's welfare board.

"The dead and injured have been shifted to the private Memon Medical Center nearby," he said.

Hospital sources said that the dead included 25 men and 16 women.

The bus belongs to the Al-Azhar Garden Colony, which is an Ismaili community housing project in Karachi.

Pakistan, has seen a spike in sectarian violence in recent years, particularly against minority Shiites who represent around 20 percent of the country's predominantly Muslim population of 200 million.

  • Published in World

Karachi may sink into ocean by 2060

Karachi: Pakistan's biggest city and financial hub Karachi may sink into the ocean along with other coastal towns of Sindh province in the next 45 years, oceanography experts have warned.

Pakistan Senate's Standing Committee on Science and Technology has written a letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif earlier this week, warning that the problem of sea intrusion along the coastal areas of Sindh must be taken seriously by the government.

The letter warned that if sea intrusion continues unabated than coastal towns of Badin and Thatta might sink in the next 30 years, followed by Karachi by around 2060.

The Senate Standing Committee was briefed by the National Institute of Oceanography chief Asif Inam, who warned that if the current trends of sea erosion in the Indus delta and coastlines continue unchecked, then Karachi, a city of 20 million people could sink by 2060.

The letter called upon the Ministry of Water and Power, Pakistan Navy, National Institute of Oceanography and other national institutions to carry out research studies in this area to prevent such a catastrophe.

Inam has earlier attributed this doomsday scenario to changes in weather patterns and rising temperatures as well as unplanned development in coastal areas.

"Three cities of Sindh, Karachi, Badin and Thatta, are under direct threat due to rising sea levels. This needs timely mitigation measures," Inam told a web portal on environment.

The letter also called on the National Disaster Management Authority and Provincial Disaster Management Authority to take necessary steps to prevent possible damage to high-risk areas in future.

  • Published in World
Bengaluru, Karachi cheapest cities to live

Bengaluru, Karachi cheapest cities to live

New Delhi:: India’s IT hub Bengaluru and Pakistan’s financial capital Karachi have emerged as the world’s cheapest cities to live in, according to a new global survey. The sub-continent as a whole offers the best value for money, with Mumbai, Chennai and New Delhi also being ranked on the lower end of the Worldwide Cost of Living Report 2015 compiled by the Economic Intelligence Unit.

“Indian cities make up four of the six cheapest (cities). Structurally low wages and price subsidies on some staples have made for a highly price sensitive market. Falling oil prices will add further weight to this,” the report said.

The annual report is a relocation tool, which compares the cost of living between 133 cities using New York as a base city.

Bengaluru shares the lowest rank on the list with Karachi followed by Mumbai at 130, Chennai at 129 and New Delhi at 128 on a list topped by Singapore for being the most expensive for the second consecutive year.

It heads an unchanged top five compared to last year, joined by Paris, Oslo, Zurich and Sydney. Geneva, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Helsinki complete the top 10.

London, comes in as 11th-most expensive place, and is now as pricey as Tokyo, which was replaced by Singapore as the most expensive city last year. Relative stability at the top of the rankings is in contrast to significant fluctuations lower down, especially relating to exchange rate weakness.

Caracas, in Venezuela, falls 124 places, from 6th last year to 4th from bottom now. Conversely, Seoul, in South Korea, is rising quickly up the rankings. Ranked 50th five years ago, it is now in top 10.

“The situation of an unchanged top five is very rare for the worldwide cost of living survey and disguises some significant global drivers that are impacting on the cost of living everywhere,” said Jon Copestake, the editor of the report. “Rebasing the survey to today’s exchange rates would put Zurich top, highlighting how fluid the global cost of living has become,” he said.

The survey compares more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services — including food, drink, clothing, household supplies and personal care items, home rents, transport, utility bills, private schools, domestic help and recreational costs. 

  • Published in National

No trouble in our paradise, insists Shoaib Malik on his marital life with Sania Mirza

Karachi: Pakistan cricket's senior all-rounder Shoaib Malik insists that he is having a happy married life with Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and that there are no differences or problems between the couple.

"Even now I and Sania are together in Dubai and we love to spend as much time as possible together. But being professional athletes we have to also fulfil our other commitments but it does not mean our marriage is on the rocks," Malik was quoted as saying by the 'Jang' newspaper.

He was apparently responding to reports in the Pakistani and Indian media about his marriage being in trouble.

The Pakistani media has also highlighted the fact that Malik was seen moving around with actor Humaima Malik and her family.

But Malik insisted that Humaima was only a good friend. "I and Sania have a strong relationship and we knew before we got married it would not be easy. But at times it gets frustrating reading baseless stories about our marriage," he said. Malik also lashed out at critics for stating that he didn't want to play in the World Cup.

"I never said I didn't want to play in the World Cup. All I said was that the selectors should now give chances to those players they have persisted with since last few months." "I am always available to play for Pakistan because whatever I am today it is because of Pakistan cricket and how can I forget this or say I don't want to play in the World Cup," he questioned.

Malik said his main priority always was to play for Pakistan and not in foreign leagues. "Whenever Pakistan needs me I am available, whenever the selectors feel I deserve a call-up I will be happy. Whether they call me up before or after the World Cup it is always an honour to play for Pakistan," Malik said.

  • Published in World

20 injured in grenade attack in Karachi

Islamabad: A hand grenade attack on a camp of Muttahida Qaumi Movement on Friday left 20 people, including three parliamentarians, injured in this Pakistani port city. The hand grenade was thrown at the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) camp in in Orangi Town area where a membership drive was going on, police said.

"Three MQM MPAs Mohammad Hussain, Sheikh Abdullah and Saifuddin Khalid are among the wounded," MQM leader Wasay Jalil said. He said the explosion took place when a large number of people had gathered at the camp set up inside a building compound. At least 20 people were wounded in the attack, police said.

The hand grenade was Russia-made and powerful enough to affect everyone within a ten feet radius of the blast, a Bomb Disposal Squad official said. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar a splinter group of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)- claimed responsibility for the attack. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar's spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told Dawn channel that MQM and other political parties who are thriving on the anti-Taliban agenda are on their hit list.

He said that the attacks on Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) besides MQM would continue as the militant outfit has renewed its war against these parties. MQM chief Altaf Hussain has condemned the attack, describing it as a cowardly act. Addressing workers at the Orangi town sector office, Hussain said they should not lose patience and continue their peaceful struggle.

  • Published in World

Bus crash in southern Pakistan kills 56 people

Karachi: At least 56 people, including 18 children, were killed on Tuesday when a passenger bus collided head-on with a goods truck in southern Pakistan, officials said. The accident happened near the city of Khairpur, 450 kilometres (300 miles) north of Karachi, the capital of southern Sindh province.

"The Karachi-bound passenger bus, which was coming from northwestern city of Swat went on the wrong side of the road and collided head-on with a goods container, killing 56 people," senior local police official Nasir Aftab told AFP. He said 18 passengers were injured in the accident, adding that those killed in the crash included 17 women and 18 children.

A senior doctor at the Khairpur civil hospital confirmed the death toll and said the condition of three of the injured was critical.Pakistan has an appalling record of fatal traffic accidents due to poor roads, badly-maintained vehicles and reckless driving. The emergency services' recovery equipment is basic and when crashes happen away from major towns, as they often do, rescue efforts can take some time, reducing injured passengers' chances of survival.

In April a bus smashed into a tractor-trailer in a high speed collision in Sindh, killing 42 people, while in March a horrific crash between two buses and a petrol tanker left 35 dead, with many burned alive when the fuel ignited. The mountainous areas of Kashmir and the north, where drivers career around narrow hairpin bends over deep ravines with scant regard for safety, are particularly prone to accidents. Three crashes in the space of 10 days in March in Kashmir and the northwest left a total of 46 people dead.
  • Published in World
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