Militants terrorized Pakistan’s largest city for a fourth day Monday, killing 20 people and threatening weekly protests until their supporters are released from jail.
The streets, usually packed with rickshaws, overcrowded buses and thousands of cars, were empty as the militants’ 4 p.m. deadline passed without the prisoners being released.
Residents in the hardest-hit areas of central and eastern Karachi stayed indoors. Even usually safe areas were deserted as militants continued a shooting spree that has killed 99 people, including two policemen shot Monday.
Police blame the violence on the Mohajir Qaumi Movement, which represents Muslim immigrants from India and accuses Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s government of discrimination.
Late Monday, Shaoib Bokhari, a spokesman for the militants, said they would hold protests every Friday and Saturday until their demands are met. Protests are usually accompanied by violence.