Imran Khan blames rival for murder of politician Zahra Shahid Hussain in Pakistan amid continuing dispute over poll rigging

 

Imran Khan has blamed a political rival based in Britain for the murder of a politician from his own party who was shot dead outside her house in Karachi on Saturday night.

Zahra Shahid Hussain, a lecturer and the head of the Pakistan Movement for Justice’s Karachi women’s wing, was killed by gunmen who tried to snatch her purse. Police officer Sarfraz Nawaz said it could have been a targeted killing made to look like a robbery.

Mr Khan blamed the Karachi-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) for the murder, a charge they have angrily denied. The movement’s leader, Altaf Hussain, leads his party from exile in London. He also directed his anger at the UK authorities.

“I hold Altaf Hussain directly responsible ... as he openly threatened PTI [Mr Khan’s party] workers and leaders through public broadcasts,” Mr Khan wrote in a tweet. “I also hold the British government responsible as I had warned them about ... Altaf Hussain after his open threats.” 

The timing of the murder has triggered widespread claims that it was carried out to intimidate voters from Mr Khan’s party ahead of the repolling in some parts of Karachi’s well-heeled Defence Housing Authority neighbourhood.

Supporters of Mr Khan’s party, which won the second highest number of votes nationally and the third highest number of seats, allege that in at least one constituency in Karachi and one in Lahore, they were victims of rigging. In Karachi, their principal opponents were the MQM. For days, young activists have held sit-down protests in both cities.

Mr Khan’s critics say that his party is refusing to accept defeat after suffering exaggerated hopes of a victory. In Punjab, the most populous province, Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party won an overwhelming number of seats with hefty margins.

European Union election observers have said that, for the most part, the elections were conducted fairly. As is typical of all Pakistani elections, there were some irregularities where candidates could take advantage of a situation.

A Punjab bureaucrat said one old favoured tactic is “go slow”. Where a queue of an opponent’s voters forms, the polling officials reduce the flow of votes to a trickle. Impatient voters lined up at the back of the queue begin to disperse.

Some cruder antics were apparent. Mobile phone videos broadcast on television showed officials stamping several ballots without a voter present. A candidate from the hardline Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam reportedly ran away with ballot boxes in a northwest constituency.

In rural areas, some votes are alleged to have been changed after polling ended. “The returning officer told them to break the seals,” said Fakhr Imam, a PMLN candidate who lost by around 10,000 votes.

Affidavits from seven polling officials, seen by The Independent and submitted to the Election Commission, say that they were “instructed” by the returning officer in Kabirwala, southern Punjab, to tamper with sealed bags of ballots.

On the night of the election, television stations showed Mr Imam leading the count in his constituency. The official result was not released until 36 hours later, when he was declared the loser.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
News
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003