One killed as violence erupts during NA-240 by-election

F.P. Report

KARACHI: A person was killed after he was shot during the by-election in the NA-240 constituency and several others have been injured as violence marred the polls.

Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) officials said that the deceased — Saifullah, whose age was 60 — died when he was brought to the medical facility.

PSP chief Mustafa Kamal confirmed that the deceased person was a member of his party and several others were in critical condition.

“He was our party member, who was aged. He resided in Baldia. The TLP people attacked us,” the PSP chief said, rebutting the claims of the TLP that they were attacked.

Kamal said that had the PSP used weapons, no one would be able to open fire at their offices and return safely. “They (TLP) are spewing lies. I appeal to the authorities that arrest them or give us weapons.”

Ruling out that his party resorted to violence, Kamal said his party members’ “lives were very precious to him” and that he wanted action to be taken against TLP for allegedly gunning down his party member.

The administration officials said that five injured people were brought to the hospital. Sources at the facility explained that some had gunshot wounds, while others had sustained injuries after being beaten up with sticks.

The Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) alleged that its senior leaders and election office were attacked during polls.

In a series of tweets, the PSP accused the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) workers of firing at its party chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal during a media talk. It added the party’s central leaders were also injured.

In another tweet, the PSP said its central election office was attacked while Kamal and party president Anis Kaimkhani were present in the office.

The party also accused the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) of staging a “deadly attack” on Kamal in Landhi-6.

The PSP released a statement from its spokesperson that accused the MQM-P, election officials and presiding officer of colluding to rig the by-election. “The MQM will no longer be allowed to win by stamping and rigging,” the spokesperson said.

The incident took place as the political activities heightened in the constituency — which covers areas in Korangi and Landhi — with political parties eyeing to win the NA seat.

The total population of the constituency, as counted in 2017 census, stands at 853,973 while the registered voters in NA-240 are 529,855, including 294,385 male and 235,470 female voters.

A total of 309 polling stations and 1,236 polling booths were set up for elections in the constituency. The Election Commission and security administration had declared 203 polling stations “highly sensitive” and 106 as “sensitive”.

Mainly dominated by Urdu speakers, the constituency has a moderate number of pockets of residents of other linguistic groups.

With total 25 candidates in the run, among the main contestants include Muhammad Abu Bakar of the MQM-P, Shahzada Shahbaz of the TLP, Nasir Rahim of the PPP, Shabbir Ahmed Qaimkhani of PSP, Syed Rafiuddin of MQM with a number of independent candidates.

Hours before the polling on Wednesday, the PML-N announced to withdraw from the process in favour of the PPP.