ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced on Friday that it would issue notice to Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) Chairman Mustafa Kamal for the attack by his party workers in a polling station during the NA-240 by-elections.
The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja.
In the meeting, the provincial election commissioner briefed the participants on the violence that took place during the NA-240 elections, including the snatching of ballot papers from polling stations 51 and 165 and the harassment of voters.
Commenting on the clash between the two political parties, the ECP said that the violence took place near a party office and was out of its ambit. It added that the provincial government was responsible for taking action against those responsible for the violence.
“It is the provincial government’s responsibility to provide a peaceful environment to voters,” said CEC Raja. He also appealed to Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah to summon a special meeting so that such violence does not take place again.
MQM-P once again emerged victorious in the NA-240 by-elections with a close margin of 65 votes against rival TLP in the polls held a day earlier.
However, the by-poll was marred by violence with PSP chief Mustafa Kamal blaming TLP for the violence as he 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 an elderly person and resided in Baldia. The TLP people attacked us and killed my party member,” the PSP chairman 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.
Kamal was present at the time when the firing incident took place during the by-polls — which witnessed low-voter turnout amid the violent clashes.
TLP leader Mufti Ghous Baghdadi, in conversation with Geo News, said that several of his party workers were injured in the clashes as he claimed that “losers” resorted to violence.
“The people who see that their loss is near resort to violence. All this violence took place under the supervision of Anees Kaimkhani and Mustafa Kamal,” he said.
The TLP leader said that the PSP leaders wanted to give an impression that there were no bigger “thugs” than them.
In the evening, the vehicle of PSP leader Anis Kaimkhani was fired upon in the Korangi area, but fortunately, the PSP leader was not in the car when the incident took place. The police mobile that was moving along with Kaimkhani's vehicle was also fired upon.
In response to the violence that marred the by-polls, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon said Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah has taken notice of the incidents.
The information minister said CM Shah has spoken to Inspector-General Sindh Ghulam Nabi Memon and directed him to take action against those involved in the violence.
“A police party has been dispatched to arrest those responsible,” Memon said, adding that people had resorted to aerial firing and used sticks to beat members of rival parties.
The information minister, noting that seven to six people have also been injured so far, said that the government would try to ensure the polling process concludes safely.
In conversation with IG Sindh, the chief minister said that no one would be allowed to take the law into their hands and directed the high-ranking cop to ensure that a peaceful environment prevails in the city.
The chief minister told Memon to deal with the people responsible for violence with an iron hand, while he also asked all the political parties to remain peaceful.
MQM-P’s Rabbata Committee condemned the incident, saying that it was committed by the “thugs” of PSP and TLP and added that it was “well-organised planning” that affected the polling procedure.
The MQM-P, which was once a formidable political force in Karachi, said that its polling agents were beaten and thrown out of polling stations. The party said that “armed mobs” made polling staff hostage.
“The law enforcement agencies were playing the role of spectators as [members from political parties] locked polling stations,” the MQM-P said, demanding the ECP to take notice of the situation.
Meanwhile, Additional Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Karachi Javed Alam Odho said that he has spoken to the district returning officer (DRO) and will register a case against people involved in violence during the by-polls.
“Police are drafting a report and we will register a case on the complaint of the DRO,” the police chief of the metropolis said, adding that over 200 people were involved in violence.
The Karachi police chief went on to say that the authorities would soon identify those responsible, adding that a heavy contingent of police has cleared the area.
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