The conflicting statements by leaders of the MQM and PPP indicated that despite claims to the contrary by the heads of the two parties, the former coalition partners were still not on the same page on various important issues.

MQM’s deputy convener Dr Farooq Sattar was quoted by a private news channel as saying that MQM chief Altaf Hussain had requested the head of ISI to intervene when violence had begun to spread from Qasba colony to other areas of Karachi.

Within six hours of the conversation between Mr Hussain and the ISI chief, Rangers personnel had launched an operation in the Kati Pahari area, Dr Sattar was quoted as saying. Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik had been ignoring the MQM’s pleas for security personnel’s deployment there.

On his part, Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wasan told reporters in Kingri House that he himself had issued orders for the deployment of Rangers and had also visited the affected areas.

The Rangers fell under the control of the federal government but when they were deployed in a province they were answerable to the provincial authorities, Mr Wasan said.

He said Mr Malik had also played a role in the Rangers’ deployment in the affected areas.

Answering a question, Mr Wasan said his first priority was restoring peace in Karachi by establishing the writ of the government.