Member of Pakistani cricket star's party shot dead in Karachi

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 May, 2013, 9:56am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 May, 2013, 10:02am

Police say gunmen on a motorcycle have shot and killed a senior member of a leading Pakistani political party.

Police say Zahra Shahid Hussain was gunned down outside her home in the city of Karachi in southern Sindh province. Shahid was the vice president of former Pakistani cricket star Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party women’s wing in Sindh.

Hussain “was leaving her home for some work when three gunmen attacked her. She thought they wanted to snatch her purse and handed it over to them but they killed her,” Firdous Shamim, a local PTI leader, told news agency AFP.

Police said all three gunmen escaped after the attack. No one has claimed responsibility for the killing.

Khan’s party has claimed it was the victim of vote rigging in several areas of Pakistan, including Karachi, in national elections held on May 11, which marked the first democratic transition of power in Pakistan. The Pakistan Election Commission has ordered re-polling on Sunday at 43 polling stations in Karachi.

PTI spokesman Jamal Siddiqui claimed Shahid was killed to sabotage a re-vote scheduled to be held in Karachi on Sunday.

Tensions are running high between PTI and Karachi’s dominant Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party after Khan’s party accused the MQM of widespread rigging.

MQM has denied the charge and announced a boycott of the re-election.

Last weekend’s election saw about 50 million Pakistanis vote, with centre-right former prime minister Nawaz Sharif emerging the winner nearly 14 years after he was deposed in a coup.

The Taliban, who denounce democracy as un-Islamic, killed more than 150 people during the election campaign, including 24 on polling day.

Associated Press, Agence France-Presse