Unidentified gunmen killed two Pakistani soldiers in the southern city of Karachi on Tuesday, a rare attack on the powerful army, which could show the beginning of a push-back against a tightening crackdown on violence, the military said.
Both of the soldiers were shot dead on a busy road in the center of Karachi, Pakistani’s largest city and financial hub. Pakistan’s military said that the unidentified gunmen were riding a motorcycle as they fired on the soldiers.
"The two were sitting in their official vehicle, when two men shot them from behind and fled," senior police officer Jamil Ahmed told media.
Last month, four soldiers were also killed in an attack.
Since March, no soldiers had been killed in Karachi before that latest one. Their protected status in a city were preventing them from murders which are common in Karachi among policemen, politicians and prominent businessmen.
Karachi, which is made up of about 20 million people, is the center of the stock exchange and central bank and is suffering from political, ethnic and sectarian violence.
Many politicians in the city have connections to violent gangs, operating like a mafia to sustain their hold on power, security officials said.
The military launched a crackdown two years ago, in an attempt to target suspected militants and violent criminals.
Since the beginning of the crackdown, murders have sharply decreased, although violence still continues.
In recent months, the crackdown has broadened to include alleged corruption.
According to politicians of the opposition, the Pakistan’s military is using the crackdown as an excuse to target them. The military denies the allegations.