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KARACHI: Armed clashes between workers of rival political parties left an elderly person dead and several others injured on Thursday during by-election in Karachi’s NA-240 constituency that comprises Landhi and Korangi neighbourhoods of the metropolis.

The polling process continued till 5 pm, and vote count was underway till filing of this report at around 10 pm.

As per unofficial unconfirmed results of 160 out of the total 309 polling stations, Muhammad Abu Bakr of MQM-Pakistan was leading with 5,520 votes, followed by Shehzada Shahbaz of Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) with 5,510 votes, while Syed Rafi-ud-Din Faisal of Mohajir Qaumi Movement was at third position with 4277 votes. Shabbir Ahmed Qaimkhani of PSP, Nasir Rahim of PPP were also in the race along with other candidates of different parties.

Clashes reported from different areas of the constituency including Landhi No-6 during the day despite deployment of 1500 police personnel and other law enforcers.

Rescue officials also complained that they were targeted by enraged persons while they were moving the injured to hospitals.

Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) have accused each other of injuring party workers.

PSP Chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal claimed that the deceased was a member of his party, and blamed TLP for the attack on its central election office, and killing a worker, a claim rejected by TLP which rather levelled allegations on PSP for ‘attacking its workers’.

Additional Inspector-General (AIG) Karachi, Javed Odho has confirmed one death in armed clashes between political workers. Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) officials also confirmed to have received three injured and one body.

AIG Karachi Javed Odho said that one person, identified as Saifuddin, died while four others were injured during the violence in Landhi-6.

However, he said, the situation is now under control and counting was underway at polling stations. He further said that later, a scuffle broke out between the parties’ workers outside a political party office. “First they hit each other with sticks and then shots were fired,” he added.

Javed added that he has spoken to the district returning officer (DRO) and will register a case against people involved in violence during the by-polls. He pointed out that over 200 people were involved in violence.

MQM-P leader and federal minister Aminul Haq said at least 10 workers of his party sustained injuries during the clash.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, taking serious notice of the firing incident has directed IG Police Ghulam Nabi Memon and Adl IG Karachi to take strict action against the persons involved in firing incident and skirmishes. “We can’t allow anybody to disrupt the peaceful polling process,” he said.

The CM urged political parties participating in the bye-election to demonstrate responsible attitude. “We are political people and should not allow violence,” he urged.

Election Commission established separate control rooms at central and provincial level for handling complaints.

The seat fell vacant following the death of MQM-P MNA Iqbal Muhammad Ali Khan.

The ECP had declared 203 polling stations in the constituency ‘very sensitive’ out of 309 polling stations while the remaining 106 polling stations ‘sensitive’.

The constituency comprises 529,855 voters including 294,385 male and 235,470 female voters. The ECP established 1,236 polling booths.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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