KARACHI: Violence reared its ugly head on Friday in the run-up to the NA-246 Karachi by-poll as charged activists of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) clashed in Liaquatabad.
Police said a JI rally was passing through Sharifabad when some workers shouted provocative slogans against the MQM leadership, drawing a violent response from their rival activists gathered at a nearby election camp.
At least six activists of the religious party were injured in the clash, as the activists from both sides attacked each other with sticks. The atmosphere became tense in the locality after some workers pelted passing vehicles with stones. The glass windows of several cars were smashed.
Two police mobiles had been deployed for the security of the JI rally. But as soon as the fight broke out, the policemen escaped, witnesses said.
DSP Wajahat Hussain said the situation was brought under control and extra law enforcement personnel had been deputed at the spot.
JI leaders strongly condemned the incident and termed it an attack by the MQM. Nazirul Hasan said the JI workers were staging a peaceful rally when the MQM workers attacked them.
The MQM Coordination Committee, however, accused the JI activists of attacking its election camp at Al-Azam Square in Liaquatabad.
In a statement, the party appealed for patience from the area residents, adding the MQM candidate for NA-246, Kanwar Naveed, was trying to contact the JI candidate, Rashid Naseem, to bring the situation under control.
Political activities are gathering pace in the constituency considered a stronghold of the MQM. The by-elections are scheduled for April 23 on the seat, which was vacated by former MQM and PPP leader Nabeel Gabol.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2015.
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