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MQM ends sit-in after Altaf’s appeal

Updated May 16, 2013
A female supporter of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) shouts slogans while others wave flags during a sit in protest rally in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office in Karachi, May 15, 2013. — Photo Reuters
A female supporter of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) shouts slogans while others wave flags during a sit in protest rally in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office in Karachi, May 15, 2013. — Photo Reuters

KARACHI, May 15: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement ended on late Wednesday night a sit-in it had been holding outside the office of the provincial Election Commission in protest against ECP’s decision to hold re-polling in 43 polling stations of the NA-250 constituency.

The decision was announced by MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar while addressing the participants of the sit-in.

Earlier, MQM chief Altaf Hussain had appealed to the coordination committee to call off the sit-in by leaders and workers of the party. He said the protest should be postponed till the decision of the ECP on an MQM application seeking re-election in the entire NA-250 constituency.

Dr Sattar read out the message of Mr Hussain in which he had asked the owners of television channels and anchors to forgive him if he had hurt their sentiments.

He said Mr Hussain had congratulated PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif on winning the elections and said the MQM had accepted wholeheartedly the victory of his party. He urged Mr Sharif to also accept the mandate given by the people to the MQM.

Mr Hussain also congratulated Imran Khan and other leaders on their parties’ electoral success.

Meanwhile, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan called PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif and congratulated him on the success of his party in the elections and asked him to convey his greetings also to Nawaz Sharif.

The governor and Mr Shahbaz also discussed the political situation in the country.

Earlier, the Sindh government advised the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) not to hold repolling in 43 polling stations of NA-250 for security reasons.

“We have just given a proposal to the ECP,” Sindh Information Minister Noor-ul-Huda Shah told Dawn here on Wednesday. The minister said: “Obviously, a decision will be taken by the ECP but the provincial government had just expressed its inability to hold the polls.”

She said the government had also told the ECP that if the contesting parties agreed, the repolling should not be held.

Ms Shah said in view of happenings of the past few days there were apprehensions that the law and order situation could deteriorate.

The minister said emotions of MQM and PTI activists, who had been holding rallies and sits-in almost daily, were running high. Section 144 had been imposed and political rallies had been banned, but if the polling were held crowds would gather again, she added.

Meanwhile, Clifton police arrested seven suspects allegedly involved in rigging at two polling stations of NA-250.