26 killed, 52 injured in poll-related violence in Karachi

26 killed, 52 injured in poll-related violence in Karachi

The central committee of the Mutthaida-e-Qaumi Movement, which represents the Urdu speaking migrants from India, today alleged that 25 people including party workers had been killed in the violence.

"There is a game of blood and violence being carried out in the city which is moving closer to the brink of disaster," the MQM statement said.

It said the elements in the peace committee formed by the ruling Pakistan People's Party and the Awami National Party were involved in the violence and killings.  "Is it not strange that all these killings and violence started in parts of the city as soon as the ANP announced its boycott of the by-polls in Orangi town," the statement said.

Television news channels put the toll since last night at 26 quoting police and rescue officials. The violence flared up in the city in the run-up to a tense by-poll election in one of the most sensitive and ethnically divided areas of the city.

The polls for the provincial assembly seat PS-94 (Orangi town) was seen as a direct contest between the MQM and the ANP which represents the Pasthun speaking migrants in the city. But the ANP last night said it would boycott the polls as its demand to carry out the elections under army supervision was rejected.

The by-polls are being held for the seat left vacant by the assassination of MQM leader Raza Haider who was gunned down with his guard outside a mosque on August 2 where he had gone to attend the funeral of a friend's mother.

In some areas mobs torched vehicles and shops and in many parts of the city the petrol pumps and markets remained closed. Although the government has deployed more than 1000 Rangers and over 2600 police personnel, the MQM said that at some polling stations mobs had attacked the polling officers and voters and resorted to firing.

Dawn television channel reported that its staff was harassed and manhandled and their equipment damaged when they went for coverage in one of the areas of the city.