Two people shot dead in Sindh

KARACHI / HYDERABAD: Although the polling process remained largely peaceful throughout Sindh, two persons were reprotedly shot dead and more than two dozen others injured in clashes in the districts of Hyderabad, Nawabshah and Mirpurkhas divisions on Wednesday.

A man was killed and another injured during a clash between supporters of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) outside Qazi Arif polling station in Mehar taluka of Dadu district in PS-84. The conflict reportedly sparked after PTI’s Musarat Rafique Mahesar allegedly tried to influence the voters at the polling station. The PPP’s polling agent reacted and intimated the supporters outside. Subsequently, PTI’s local leader Ghulam Abbass Mahesar and PPP’s Mehmood Mahesar exchanged harsh words.

As Abbass was trying to leave in his car, the PPP’s men allegedly surrounded his vehicle and attacked it with wooden sticks. The other side reacted by firing gunshots which hit two persons, Siddiqui Mahesar and Azizullah Mangi. Both were shifted to Chandka Medical College Hospital, Larkana district, where Siddiqui succumbed to his injuries. The polling was briefly suspended until the law enforcement agencies controlled the situation. The incident’s FIR has yet to be registered.

In Dighri taluka of Mirpurkhas district, a man returning from a polling station after casting his vote was shot dead by armed men. The police and family of slain 30-year-old Sikandar Noohani told the local media that the incident, which took place in Mubarak Noohani village was due to a personal dispute.

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“Because of our enmity, we left our village and shifted to Khipro [Sanghar district]. Today we had come to cast our votes,” Anwar Noohani, brother of Sikandar, said. He pointed out four suspects to the police, out of whom the prime suspect, Asad Noohani, was arrested.

Violence was also observed outside a polling station at a branch of the Agriculture Bank in PS-47, Mirpurkhas. The supporters of Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) repeatedly exchanged slurs and slogans. But the local elders and security personnel prevented the situation from spiraling out of control.

As many as 13 people were injured in Badin where the supporters of PPP and Grand Democratic Alliance’s (GDA) Zulfiqar Mirza attacked each other with wooden sticks and bricks. The violent confrontation was stirred by a petty argument at the entrance of the polling station in Chak village number one in Shaheed Fazil Rahu taluka where the polling was under way for NA-230 and PS-74. Former NA speaker Fehmida Mirza and Zulfiqar Mirza were contesting on the two seats against the PPP’s candidates.

Seven men sustained injuries after being attacked by axes outside polling station number 61 in Khipro taluka of Sanghar district in NA-216. An enraged mob also broke the windows of several vehicles and resorted to aerial firing, prompting an hour-long suspension of polling. The blood-soaked persons were shifted to a local hospital.

PPP’s former MNA Shazia Atta Mari, who was a contestant from NA-216, blamed the GDA’s local leadership. The other side blamed the PPP for the attack. The police arrested six suspects in the incident’s aftermath.

A clash between workers of GDA and PPP also occurred in Matiari district. Two persons sustained injuries caused by an axe while the police arrested as many suspects from the spot. The incident took place in Luqman Korejo village in Hala taluka. The polling process was put on hold for an hour.

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There were also reports of clashes in the Umerkot and Chautiari area of Sanghar district. Two elderly persons returning from their polling stations also died of cardiac arrest in Thatta and Umerkot.

In general the security situation remained under control due to presence of army personnel performing duties inside polling stations and those patrolling in towns.

Meanwhile, a blast at PPP’s camp outside a polling station in UC-13 at Surha Padhar in Larkana left five of the party’s workers injured. The injured were rushed to a nearby hospital where PPP leader Nisar Khuhro’s daughter, who contested from Larkana, met them. The reason for the incident could not be ascertained. However, the IG ordered the Larkana DIG to present a report and arrest those involved.

In another dispute at Nimoro polling station in Lakhi Ghulam Shah taluka of Shikarpur between the supporters of GDA’s Shaharyar Maher and an independent candidate Ameer Ali Jatoi’s left eight supporters injured. The injured men were identified as Anwar, Suleman, Papan, Pakhi, Ghuram and others.

In another incident, in NA-198 in Shikarpur, a supporter of an independent candidate attacked an army personnel and flee from the scene. The army arrested the supporter from the polling station in Khanpur taluka.

While speaking to The Express Tribune, Ghotki SSP Asad Malhi denied rumours of the arrest of a candidate for the provincial assembly from PPP during polling hours. He said the Ghotki police is not involved in anyone’s arrest.

In another incident, PS-7 candidate from Shikarpur, Imtiaz Sheikh, was allegedly attacked by rivals of the Brohi clan. Mir Hassan Brohi was wounded in the incident. The Brohi and Shaikh rivalry in Shikarpur has already cost many lives in the past.

All is well in the metropolis

In Karachi, the authorities had though listed 2,247 polling stations in Karachi as highly sensitive and 2,058 as sensitive, the day passed peacefully amid tight security as no major incident of violence and rigging occurred across the metropolitan.

More than 50,000 security personnel, including 30,000 police supervised the election process in Karachi.

In NA-239, Korangi, some seven people, including a woman, were detained as they were in possession of some ‘fake’ documents. The police detained them after the presiding officers found form 40 and form 45 in their possession. They were later released after verification.

Meanwhile, in some parts of the city, including Lyari, Landhi and Malir, minor incidents of clashes occurred between rival political groups. However, the law enforcers immediately interfered and bought the situation under control. No arrest was made.

Additional reporting by our correspondents

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