Security forces patrolled Karachi yesterday after two days of violent clashes over the suspension of Pakistan's chief justice left 36 people dead.
The government ordered extra troops into the volatile port city amid fears of more unrest sparked by President Pervez Musharraf's decision to sack chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Two people were killed yesterday, as city police chief Azhar Farooqi described the situation as "very tense."
Protesters blocked the main highway with burning tires and pelted vehicles with stones, police and witnesses said.
In the latest bloodshed, a policeman was killed yesterday in the Mangopir neighborhood, west of Karachi.
"The assailants set his bike on fire and tortured him before shooting him from close range," police officer Shafiqur Rehman said.
Another man was shot dead in a separate incident.
The worst political street violence Pakistan has seen since the 1980s erupted on Saturday when the country's suspended top judge tried to meet supporters in the southern city.
It is the most serious challenge to the authority of Musharraf, who is also army chief, since he seized power in 1999.
"About 1,000 people are protesting on the roads and they have also fired on police. Police resorted to teargasing to disperse the mob but they are still on the streets," police officer Shad Ibne Masih said.
Small clashes erupted in several other parts of the city.
The fear in Karachi is that Saturday's violence would reignite bloody feuding between ethnic-based factions that plagued the city in the 1980s and 1990s.
Musharraf condemned the violence in a speech at a rally of tens of thousands of his supporters in Islamabad late on Saturday.
But he ruled out declaring a state of emergency saying the people were with him. Elections due late this year would be held on time, he said.
The police were widely criticized for failing to stop Saturday's bloodshed in which at least 34 people were killed and more than 130 people wounded.
"The police definitely failed. They did not respond," a provincial government official said.
Police said yesterday security measures were in place.
"We have increased patrols and will focus more on the areas worst affected yesterday," city police chief Azhar Farooqi said.
Saturday's street clashes pitted members of the pro-government Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which runs Karachi and opposed an attempt by Chaudhry to hold a rally with his supporters in the city, against its opponents.
They include an alliance of religious parties and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), which said 15 of its workers were killed.
The opposition Awami National Party (ANP), which represents ethnic Pashtuns, many of whom live in Karachi, said 11 workers were killed and the Jamaat-e-Islami religious party said three workers were killed.
The MQM said 11 supporters were killed.
It was not clear why the tally of party tolls was more than the toll given by the provincial government.
Provincial president of the ANP said he feared ethnic violence.
"If they fail to control militancy it will divide Karachi on ethnic lines," the leader of the ANP, Afrasiab Khattak, said.
But a leader of the PPP played down that fear.
"I don't think it's ethnic violence, it's government supporters trying to beat the opposition into submission with the help of the state machinery," said the leader of the opposition in the upper house, Raza Rabbani.