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2 die in mob violence in Pakistan after assassination

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  • NEW: Visiting U.S. lawmakers to leave Pakistan early on State Department advice
  • Police fire on a crowd in the city of Khairpur, killing two people
  • Angry protesters set fire to banks, shops, gas stations
  • Authorities call for calm, and police ask residents to stay inside
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(CNN) -- At least two people were killed in Pakistan in the wake of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination as angry mobs took to the streets, blocking roads, torching cars and pelting police with rocks.

"It's all mayhem everywhere," Shehryar Ahmad, an investment banker in Karachi, told CNN by telephone.

"There's absolutely no order of any kind. No army on the streets. No curfew."

Police fired on a crowd, killing two people, in the city of Khairpur in the Sindh province, GEO TV reported.

In Peshawar, officers used tear gas and batons to break up a demonstration, the station said. Video Watch as protesters set fires »

"A lot of government buildings and many vehicles have been burned by the angry protesters," said Majid Siddiqui of GEO TV.

In Islamabad, visiting U.S. lawmakers -- Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-Rhode Island -- said the State Department urged them to leave the country early.

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They were preparing to meet Bhutto Thursday evening when they heard of the attack a few hours before the scheduled talks. Specter said he and Kennedy decided to pay their respects by placing flowers beneath a portrait of Bhutto in the city.

"Candidly, it is apprehensive to be out at night in this town on a night like tonight, but it was something we ought to do," Specter said.

The two lawmakers plan to leave Pakistan Friday, a day earlier than they planned.

Authorities across the country called for calm, and police asked residents to stay inside. Video Watch a report on violence after the assassination »

Many obliged, shuttering shops or rushing home from work, and surrendering the streets to protesters who set fire to banks, shops, gas stations and more, Pakistani media reported.

Ahmad said that as he drove back from work, he counted the burned-out shells of dozens of cars. A one-mile strip leading to Bhutto's Karachi house was a "ghost town," he said.

Bhutto's supporters also torched buildings in cities including Lahore and Multan, The Associated Press reported.

Police in some areas were on the streets but were avoiding direct confrontation with the mobs, not wanting to inflame an already tense situation, local media reported.

Bhutto's moderate stance put her at odds with extremists as well as the country's president, Pervez Musharraf. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the assassination, but suspicion fell on Islamic extremists.


The killing seemed certain to delay elections for Pakistan's national assembly that were scheduled for January 8.

The leader of a major opposition political party -- former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif -- said his Pakistan Muslim League will boycott the elections. The party had previously called for a boycott but backed down after failing to muster support from other opposition groups. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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