Cricket hero Imran Khan wins revote in Karachi

Cricket hero Imran Khan wins revote in Karachi

Cricket hero Imran Khan wins revote in Karachi

Supporters of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf pray during a protest against the killing of Zara Shahid Hussain, a leading member of the party, in Lahore. REUTERS photo

Cricket hero Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) party won a revote in an upmarket constituency of Karachi on May 19, unofficial results showed, a day after gunmen killed a party leader, setting the stage for protests and counter-protests.

Khan blamed the killing of Zara Shahid Hussain on the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) party, which has a stranglehold on the city. Furious MQM leaders denied responsibility, condemned the killing and demanded a retraction from Khan. Altaf Hussain, the leader of the party, is accused of murder in Pakistan and leads his party remotely from exile in England. His party is designated a terrorist organization by Canada, a charge it strongly denies.

Results of May 11 election are still uncertain amid accusations of vote-rigging. There is re-polling in a few others where security issues prevented voting.

Last week’s election gave the MQM 18 of 19 national assembly seats in Karachi. Now the PTI has one seat, according to unofficial results.

Both the MQM, angry at the accusations, and the PTI have called for protests which often turn violent in Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city. Karachi generates around half of the government’s revenue and stability in the city is key to stability of the whole country.