KARACHI, PAKISTAN, MAY 28 -- Gunmen killed a leading opposition member of Parliament and at least 27 others today in a new outbreak of ethnic violence in Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's home province, authorities said.
Bhutto flew to this troubled port tonight for an emergency meeting with the leaders of Sind Province and the army chief of staff, Gen. Mirza Aslam Baig, who cut short a visit to Bangladesh.
Bhutto's weak, 17-month-old government, has come under increasing pressure from opposition parties to dismiss the provincial government of Sind, headed by her Pakistan People's Party, and declare a state of emergency to curb escalating violence.
Members of her party also began demanding action today after Sen. Moshin Siddiqui was shot and killed on his way to a hospital to visit survivors of sniper attacks Sunday that left 40 people dead and 75 injured, police said.
Besides the 65-year-old legislator from the opposition Pakistan Moslem League, at least 27 others, including three policemen, were gunned down in random attacks and clashes between rival ethnic groups and security forces in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, police said. Another 72 were wounded.
In Hyderabad, 150 miles to the north, residents took advantage of two two-hour curfew breaks to quickly buy food and return to their businesses, authorities said.
Soldiers patrolled the streets, stood guard on rooftops and checked all vehicles in an attempt to prevent shootings that have plagued that city since May 15 and claimed at least 135 lives.
The army moved into Hyderabad on Sunday after security forces opened fire on a procession of about 10,000 people who defied a curfew imposed to stop the bloodshed. At least 60 people were killed and nearly 300 wounded, officials said.
Military officials have received hundreds of letters in recent months from residents of Sind asking the army to take control of the province and restore law and order.
Military officials, tainted by a decade of army rule, have said the civilian government must find a solution to the bloodshed.
Police blame the current wave of violence on a militant faction of the Mohajir Qami Movement, a small party representing descendants of Moslem Indians who immigrated to Pakistan during the 1947 partition of the subcontinent.
The movement is demanding recognition for the Indian immigrants as Pakistan's fifth nationality, along with Pathans, Punjabis, Baluch and Sindis.