At least 740 people have been killed in sectarian violence in Karachi in the past five months, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), following the deaths of 1,715 people last year.

Karachi, the nation’s teeming financial hub of 17 million people, has been wracked by ethnic, political and sectarian killings that have overwhelmed the police’s capacity to curtail the violence.

“People are being killed with impunity by various ethnic groups, while the government, it seems, has little control to put an end to it,” said Zohra Yusuf, chairperson of HRCP.

The HRCP cited the widespread availability of weapons in the city.

“Those involved in violence are armed with sophisticated weapons, including automatic rifles and hand grenades, and even rockets have been used in clashes with rivals,” the group stated.

“Questions have been raised about how weapons find their way into the city on such a large scale when everyone acknowledges that they are not manufactured in Karachi.”