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Pakistan voters back at polls after senior politician's murder

Pakistan held a repeat election on Sunday in an upscale area of the southern city of Karachi that was plagued with allegations of vote-rigging, despite the shooting death of a senior member of former cricket star Imran Khan’s party.


Exercising their right: Pakistani women stand in queue amid high security to cast their votes in the constituency known as NA-250 in Karachi. Hundreds of security officials were present after Zahra Shahid Hussain was killed by unidentified men. Pic/AFP

Khan blamed Zahra Shahid’s killing late Saturday night in Karachi on the Muttahida Quami Movement, the same party he accused of vote rigging in the May 11 election. The MQM denied the allegations.

Gunmen shot Shahid in front of her home after they tried to snatch her purse and then sped away on a motorcycle, said Sarfaraz Nawaz, a police officer. The culprits made it look like a robbery, but it could have been a targeted killing, he said.

Shahid was the vice-president for Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party in surrounding Sindh province. Khan blamed the head of the MQM for the killing on Twitter, saying “I hold Altaf Hussain directly responsible for the murder as he had openly threatened PTI workers and leaders through public broadcasts.”

Turnout for the vote seemed light compared to the crowds that came out on May 11. The vote was being held at 43 polling stations under the protection of police and army soldiers. Talib Hussain, a student, said,“I didn’t get a chance to cast my vote on May 11,” said Hussain. “Luckily I got a second chance, so I did not want to miss it.”    

Khan blames British govt for killing
Imran Khan said the British government should have done more to stop Altaf Hussain, who has been living in UK since 1992. “I also hold the British government responsible as I had warned them about British citizen Altaf Hussain, after his open threats to kill PTI workers.”                     

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