While election campaign slowly picks up momentum, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Jamaat-e-Islami have already hit a bump in the road with attacks on their Karachi offices. ‘Unidentified men’, despite the deployment of heavy contingents of law enforcers in the city, burnt the two offices late Friday and Saturday morning.
PTI’s camp at UP Morr was reportedly burnt by four armed motorcyclists while JI’s office of PS 104 was attacked at Multi Chowk in Nazimabad No 2.
Waji Hassan, a candidate of PS 104, told The Express Tribune that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement was behind the incident. “The activists of MQM broke into our office at Multi Chowk and set it on fire. But it was only partially damaged,” he said. “It seems MQM is threatening us to withdraw from provincial assembly and National Assembly seats in Karachi.”
These accusations were vehemently denied by the MQM central information committee joint in-charge, Nasir Jamal. “MQM is opposed to violence in the city and our party chief, Altaf Hussain, is strictly against using force during election campaigns,” said Jamal.
Another member of JI, Amir Farooqi of the Nazimabad Division, however differed with Hassan, saying that there were no reports of arson and it was too soon to blame anyone. Farooqi said that Jamaat-e-Islami established its office at a former barber shop for their election campaign. According to him, the incident took place in the morning when four men tore down the banners and posters of the party and managed to flee from the scene.
JI Sindh Ameer and candidate for NA-245, Dr Meraj-ul-Huda Siddiqui, condemned the attacks and called it an attempt to sabotage elections. “It is a test of the caretaker government and the election commission to arrest the people involved in burning JI and PTI offices,” he said.
The party had not registered a case with the police till the filing of this report.
The second incident took place at UP Morr, New Karachi, between Friday night and Saturday morning, in which four armed men burnt the camp office of PTI. Party coordinator, Jamal Siddiqui, said that “a Karachi-based political organisation” was involved in the incident. “This party does not want to share Karachi with anyone. This attack is simply a plot to stop PTI from carrying out its campaign.” New Karachi Division SSP Qamar Raza said that police had knowledge of the fire at PTI’s camp but it was not a big incident. “We have not received any complaint from party workers.” According to DSP Chaudhry Akthar, however, four men beat up a PTI activist and then burnt the tent.
Candidate attacked in Hyd
Sunni Tehreek’s election candidate, Abid Qadri, who is contesting from the PS 46 constituency of the Sindh Assembly, was attacked on Friday night near Hyder Chowk but escaped unhurt. A case has been registered against unidentified assailants.
Qadri avoided naming any suspects or political rivals when asked about who could be behind the attacks.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2013.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ