NA-240 by-elections were held in Karachi on Thursday (June 16). The seat had fallen vacant after the death of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) MNA Iqbal Muhammad Ali in April. MQM-P’s Mohammad Abu Bakr won the seat yesterday. MQM-P had won the seat in the 2018 general elections with a huge margin but this time the contest was won just by a few votes. MQM-P candidate bagged 10,683 votes, while Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) candidate Shahzada Shahbaz ended up second with 10,618 votes.
However, TLP rejected the results and decided to challenge the outcome in court.
Violence during by-polls
The by-polls in Karachi left at least one dead and several injured. The person who died belonged to Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP).
According to media reports, three major parties — MQM-P, TLP and PSP — were primarily involved in the violence, both as alleged perpetrators and victims.
On Twitter, PSP accused TLP workers of firing at its party chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal. A bullet reportedly grazed Kamal.
Talking to Dawn, MQM-P Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) Khawaja Izharul Hassan alleged that his eight party workers were “brutally tortured” by PSP. He also alleged that PSP party members barged into polling stations and beat up polling staff.
It was reported that during the violence, three bullets hit the Edhi Foundation ambulance. The ambulance was there to pick up the injured.
Following the incident, a total of four cases have been registered at the Landhi police station and Korangi police station, reports Geo News.
According to the First Information Report (FIR), Kamal entered a polling station in Landhi 6 accompanied by 50 to 60 men and created chaos.
Moreover, the report stated that 400-500 people belonging to a political party entered a polling station all at once. The staff of the polling station was beaten up and election materials damaged. Subsequently, the police raided the polling station and took five men into custody.
The situation was extremely tense till late at night when a heavy contingent of police and Rangers reached the area after the disruption.
Election Commissioner takes notice
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja took a “serious notice” of the episode. He directed Sindh’s provincial election commissioner to ensure strict action and asked for a comprehensive report to be sent to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
Similarly, Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah also took notice of the violence.
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