MQM boycotts polls after Election Commission rejects demand for repolling in entire constituency.
Former cricket hero Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf secured victory in a repeat election of one constituency in violence-plagued Karachi, election officials said Monday.
Voting was held under tight security in 43 polling stations on Sunday after complaints of ballot stuffing during the May 11 general elections led to widespread protests and sit-ins.
The PTI’s Arif Alvi secured 77,659 votes to beat his closest rival Khushbakht Shujaat of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement who polled 30,365 votes, according to unofficial results released by Election Commission spokesman Najib Ahmed. The outcome was not a surprise as the MQM boycotted Sunday’s partial polls after the Election Commission rejected its demand for repolling in the entire constituency.
Troops, police and paramilitary rangers, backed by armored personnel carriers, guarded polling stations in the NA-250 constituency after PTI provincial vice-president Zahra Shahid Hussain was killed on Saturday night. Her death followed a bloody election campaign marked by more than 150 killings since mid-April.
Khan was quick to pin the blame on the MQM and specifically its chief Altaf Hussain, who lives in exile in London, saying he had “openly threatened PTI workers and leaders through public broadcasts.”
Celebrating his victory, Alvi said the people had spoken. “Our victory in Karachi marks a new era of peace, tolerance,” he said, adding, “The people have shown their strong will for a change in the political landscape of this city, which is the backbone of the country in all terms.”
The MQM has long dominated in Karachi but lost seats at the election and senior party leader Farooq Sattar rejected the results of what he called the “farcical” rerun poll.
The general elections were won by the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who is set to serve an unprecedented third term as premier nearly 14 years after he was deposed in a coup. Khan’s party came in third, according to partial official results, behind the Pakistan Peoples Party, which led the outgoing coalition government.