KARACHI: The peace initiative taken by educated youth and social activists of one of the city’s most violent areas stands at a crucial juncture with the announcement of ‘peace talks’ and temporary ceasefire between the leaders of the two notorious gangs, the Uzair Baloch group and the Baba Ladla group.
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Lyari has become a byword in Karachi, and the rest of the country, for places to avoid. The carnage that shook the area on Wednesday exemplified this sentiment. More than 55 people were injured and 16 were killed when rival gangs began armed clashes using heavy weaponry, including Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs). School children and women were shot dead on the streets. The police arrived belatedly and were ineffectual. Protests by Lyari residents began yesterday outside the Karachi Press Club, with many holding keys to their locked houses in their hands saying they won’t go home until the Sindh government brings some semblance of law and order to the area. The battle between loyalists of the Baba Ladla and Uzair Baloch gangs was the city’s single bloodiest incident of gang violence in recent years.