KARACHI: MQM-P candidate Abu Bakr won the by-election to NA-240 by obtaining 10,683 votes against his rival TLP’s Shahzada Shahbaz who got 10,618 votes in by-election that was marred by violence and gunfight, which left one person dead and over a dozen others injured.
The armed clashes took place among the political workers of rival parties including Pak Sarzameen Party, MQM-P and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) during polling for by-election in Karachi’s NA-240 constituency on Thursday.
According to unofficial results reported by Geo News, results of the total 309 polling stations showed that MQM-P’s Abu Bakr won the seat with 10, 683 votes while TLP candidate Shahzada Shahbaz remained runner-up, bagging 10,618 votes.
The results of polling station 51 have been withheld due to violence in the area.
According to Sindh Election Commission, turnout remained 8.32 percent in the by-election.
VIOLENCE MARRED POLLING
One person was killed and over a dozen injured in armed clashes between political workers of rival parties including Pak Sarzameen Party, MQM-P and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) during polling for by-election in Karachi’s NA-240 constituency on Thursday.
All these political parties accused each other’s workers of causing the violence.
JPMC head Dr Shahid Rasul confirmed to the media that the hospital received three injured and one body.
MQM-P leader and federal minister Aminul Haq said at least 10 workers of his party sustained injuries during the clash.
Similarly, the TLP said that workers of a political party opened fire on the car of its chief Saad Hussain Rizvi.
The armed activists also demolished the election camps of their rival parties and exchange of fire between them caused a stampede in the area.
Tensions flared in the area after the incident with a contingent of police and Rangers reached the spot to bring the situation under control.
SP Landhi said that efforts were being made to control the commotion and some persons were detained on the spot.
Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, taking notice of the firing incident in NA-240, said that nobody would be allowed to take the law in his hands.
He directed IG Police Ghulam Nabi Memon and the Karachi police chief to take strict action against the persons involved in firing incidents and skirmishes.
The chief minister also urged political parties participating in the bye-election to demonstrate responsible attitude. “We are political people and should not allow violence.”
Polling for by-poll to the National Assembly constituency NA-240 started at 8am and continued till 5pm without any interruption.
The contestants include MQM-P’s Muhammad Abu Bakar, Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan candidate Shahzada Shahbaz, Shabir Ahmed Qaim Khani of PSP, Syed Rafiuddin of Mohajir Qaumi Movement, Nasir Rahim of PPP, Syed Faizan Anis of PML-N, and Tanveer Ahmed of Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA).
The PTI has boycotted the election while Jamaat-e-Islami is also not participating in the election.
The total number of registered voters in this constituency of the National Assembly is 529,855, of which 235,470 are female.
Police surgeon Dr Summaiya Syed confirmed that the casualties were brought to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre from the Landhi area.
She said Saifuddin Kaleem was brought dead to JPMC and had suffered bullet injuries in the head.
Some of the injured were identified as 18-year-old Waleed Qudrutullah, Mohammed Idrees, 30, Khalid Chohan, 42, Salman Aslam, 35, Zeeshan Waris, 34, Aslam Ali, 35 and Nabeel Habib, 38.
A spokesperson for the Edhi Foundation informed that one of the injured identified as former MPA and a central PSP leader Iftikhar Alam was shifted to Liaquat National Hospital. The PSP alleged that its senior leaders and election office were attacked during polls.
In a series of tweets, the PSP accused 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 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.
Meanwhile, MQM-P MPA Khawaja Izharul Hassan claimed that over 10 incidents of violence against his party’s workers took place during the by-election.
He alleged that at least eight MQM-P workers were “brutally tortured” by PSP members in the presence of the police and Rangers. He alleged that “PSP terrorists” barged into polling stations and beat up polling staff. “They did this in the last hour of the polling,” Hassan added.
The MPA claimed that violence initially erupted between TLP activists and the PSP, however, both parties then targeted MQM-P workers and tortured them.
EDHI AMBULANCE NOT SPARED
The Edhi Foundation reported that during violence and firing in Landhi-6, an ambulance of the foundation, was fired upon but all staff survived the attack and continued their activities.
RANGERS ARREST TWO TLP WORKERS
Taking swift action following directives from the ECP, Pakistan Rangers Sindh arrested two persons on charges of disturbing law and order during NA-240 Karachi by-polls.
Sources informed that the Rangers arrested the two persons associated with TLP from Landhi, adding that weapons have also been recovered from their custody.
Further investigation into the matter was underway.
According to Karachi Police chief, more than 1,500 police officers and personnel were deployed for security during polling for by-polls. The police also formed special contingents to deal with any emergency, especially at the polling stations declared sensitive and highly sensitive.
Karachi Police spokesperson informed that there are 529,855 registered voters in this constituency, adding that 309 polling stations have been set up in 133 buildings for the by-election.
According to the spokesperson, Sindh Rangers officers and men also performed security duties for the by-elections.
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