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Election-day violence claims 13 lives in Karachi

Published May 11, 2013 10:27am

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Security officials and residents are seen through the shattered windscreen of a damaged vehicle at the site of a bomb attack in Karachi May 11, 2013. — Photo by Reuters

KARACHI:At least 13 people were killed and several others injured in two blasts in Karachi's Quaidabad and Qasba areas on election day, which was also marred by allegations of rigging, mismanagement and delays at several polling stations in the city.

The Jamaat-i-Islami announced a boycott of the elections in Karachi and Hyderabad over alleged rigging of elections  and use of violence and force against its party workers.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) also held a press conference and alleged that elections were being rigged under a planned conspiracy in Karachi.

Moreover reports of delays in the voting process were reported from several polling stations in different areas of the city including Nazimabad, Malir, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, some phases of Defence Housing Authority and Manghopir.

An election candidate, Ali Akbar Gujjar,  was also arrested by police in Karachi's Shaheed-i-Millat road for allegedly confiscating a ballot box at a polling station in the area.

Some political party activists resorted to violence and sloganeering near the polling station after which voting was stopped at the polling station.

Blasts

At least two persons were killed and several others were injured in the explosion in a bus in Karachi’s Qasba No 2-1/2 area, according to police sources.

The victims were rushed to a nearby hospital.

Earlier during the day 11 people were killed and 50 others were injured in an explosion in Karachi’s Quaidabad area.

The explosion occurred near the polling station of Quaidabad.

Moreover, the blast damaged the windowpanes of the several buildings and destroyed eight shops.

Earlier, Awami National Party (ANP) leader, Zahid Khan said that 20 people had been injured in the blast.

The bomb targeted a candidate seeking election to the Sindh provincial assembly for the Awami National Party (ANP).

“The condition of several injured is critical,” said doctor Semi Jamali, head of the emergency department at Jinnah Hospital in Karachi.

The target, Amanullah Mehsud, escaped unhurt, senior police official Mazhar Nawaz said. Another police official, Tahir Naveed, confirmed the attack.

Soon after the attack, chief Altaf Hussain condemned the attack and said that it was nothing but terrorism against ANP.

The election marks the first democratic transition of power in the nuclear-armed state but the run-up to the polls has been marred by attacks that have killed at least 130 people since mid-April, according to an AFP toll.

Many of them were claimed by Pakistan's umbrella Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) insurgent group.

“To revolt against this system, the TTP have planned several actions on May 11, so we appeal to the people to stay away from polling stations to save their lives,” Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said on the eve of the vote.

More than 600,000 security personnel are being deployed nationwide and around half the estimated 70,000 polling stations have been declared at risk of attack, many of them in insurgency-torn parts of Balochistan province and the northwest.