Deadly explosions rock Pakistan's Karachi

Three bomb explosions have killed at least four people dead, including a young girl, in Pakistan's port city of Karachi, police and hospital officials say.

Saturday's blasts, two of which targeted secular political parties and another close to a Shia Muslim mosque, came a day after a car bomb at an election office in the same city killed at least 10 people.

"The first bomb, which was planted near the office of the MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement) in Qasba Colony area killed one person and wounded 24 others," Zahid Hussain, a local police official, said.

Hussain said the MQM office was the target but it was not open at the time of blast, adding that in the second attack a hand grenade was hurled near a Shia Muslim mosque which injured up to four people.

In the third blast, which took place during a campaign meeting of a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) candidate in Lyari neighbourhood, a seven-year-old girl was killed and nine others were wounded, Muhammad Azim, another police official, said.

He said that the bomb had been planted on a motorbike.

Coalition partners

The MQM and the Pashtun-dominated Awami National Party (ANP), which was targeted in Friday's attack, were coalition partners in the outgoing PPP government and have been threatened by the Pakistani Taliban.

The three parties are perceived as secular and backed military operations against the fighters.

As a result of the threats, there have been few large-scale political rallies leading to a lacklustre campaign for the May 11 general elections.

Amnesty International, the UK-based human-rights advocacy group, has called on Pakistan to investigate the recent wave of attacks, which have resulted in dozens of casualties in different parts of the country, and to ensure adequate protection for candidates.

The national polls should see power pass from a civilian government that has served a full term to another through the ballot box for the first time in the country's turbulent history.

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