Senior Pakistani politician Zahra Shahid shot dead
Repeat election held in Karachi despite Shahid's murder
Gunmen in Pakistan have killed a senior member of Imran Khan's Movement for Justice (PTI) party outside her home in Karachi.
Zahra Shahid, 60, was shot twice in the head, outside her home in Karachi by two men on motorcycle, police said on Saturday. Shahid was a senior member of Khan's party.
Despite her death, Pakistan held a repeat election on Sunday in an upscale area of the southern city of Karachi that has been plagued with allegations of vote-rigging, despite the shooting death of a senior member of former cricket star Imran Khan's party.
Khan blamed Shahid's killing late Saturday night in Karachi on the Muttahida Quami Movement, the same party he accused of vote rigging in the May 11 election. The MQM denied the allegations.
The leader of PTI party and candidate from NA-250 seat in Karachi, Dr. Arif Alvi, mourned the loss of his colleague.
"She was an asset of the party. She was a central vice president of this party," he said.
He called for an investigation into the murder, although he expressed little faith in Pakistan's justice system.
Robbery blamed in death
Gunmen shot Shahid in front of her home after they tried to snatch her purse and then sped away on a motorcycle, said police officer Sarfaraz Nawaz. The culprits made it look like a robbery, but it could have been a targeted killing, he said.
Shahid was vice president for Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party in surrounding Sindh province.
Khan blamed the head of MQM for the killing on Twitter, saying "I hold Altaf Hussain directly responsible for the murder as he had openly threatened PTI workers and leaders through public broadcasts."
Hussain is currently in self-imposed exile in London because of legal cases against him in Pakistan.
The MQM, which is the strongest party in Karachi and has long controlled the city, has often been accused of using violence against its competitors. The party has boycotted the repeat polling being held Sunday for a national assembly seat and two provincial assembly seats.
Turnout for the vote seemed light compared to the crowds that came out on May 11. The vote was being held at 43 polling stations in the NA-250 constituency under the protection of police and army soldiers.
The big winner in the May 11 national election was the Pakistan Muslim League-N party, led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which looks set to form the next government. The party held off a strong challenge from Khan, whose criticism of the country's traditional politicians energized the Pakistani youth.
Talib Hussain, a university student, said he was up all night studying but couldn't miss the chance to vote
"I didn't get a chance to cast my vote on May 11," said Hussain. "Luckily I got a second chance, so I did not want to miss it.
The polling in NA-250 had been characterized by extensive delays on May 11 because some polling stations opened hours late. Sunday's voting seemed to be going smoother.