The district election commissioner of Quetta was gunned down in an act of target killing in the busy area of Chandni Chowk in Satellite Town in the provincial capital of Balochistan on Tuesday.
Chief of Satellite Town police station Tanveer Ahmed told The Express Tribune that DEC Muhammad Ziaullah Qasmi was on his way home in a rickshaw and upon reaching Chandni Chowk, unidentified men opened fire on the three-wheeler. Qasmi received multiple bullet wounds and died on the spot, while the rickshaw driver sustained minor injuries. The victims were rushed to Civil Hospital where the DEC was pronounced dead on arrival. Qasmi belonged to Sargodha in Punjab.
The rickshaw driver said he was dropping Qasmi home when they both suddenly heard the firing. “Both of us ducked down. I could not see who they [the attackers] were and where they escaped,” Habibullah said.
Hearing of the incident, Balochistan Chief Election Commissioner Sultan Bayazeed rushed to Civil Hospital. Speaking to the media outside the hospital, Bayazeed said that despite owning a car, Qasmi almost always travelled around in a rickshaw due to security concerns, “but unfortunately today he was targeted”.
“He may have received some threats but he did not inform us. Everyone knows elections are drawing nearer and we have security concerns,” he claimed.
Police surgeon Dr Noor Baloch said that the district election commissioner was shot more than four times, killing him instantly.
Family sources said he would be taken to his native town for burial.
Police said a case had been registered against unidentified assailants and an investigation was under way.
ECP chief pays condolences
Hearing of the killing of DEC Qasmi, Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim and members of the Election Commission of Pakistan condemned the killing and grieved over his death.
“On his death, the ECP has lost a dutiful and vigilant officer who served the ECP with exemplary commitment and distinction,” said a press release issued by the Commission.
ECP also demanded authorities to immediately investigate the matter, arrest those responsible and take swift action against the culprits.
PM Ashraf deplores killing
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf also condemned the murder of Qasmi. The prime minister said his government was determined to eliminate militancy from the country. He added that such incidents could not deter the government’s resolve to fight terrorism. (WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP)
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2013.