Zahra Shahid Hussain (center) with PTI Chairman Imran Khan (third from left) and other senior PTI leaders
The senior vice president of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has been shot dead in Karachi.
Zahra Shahid Hussain, who was one of the founding members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Pakistan Movement for Justice or PTI), was gunned down outside her home in the upscale Defense neighborhood on Saturday night.
Hussain “was leaving her home for some work when three gunmen attacked her. She thought they wanted to snatch her purse and handed it over to them but they killed her,” said Firdous Shamim, a local PTI leader.
“They shot her with one bullet near her chin and she could not survive,” police official Nasir Aftab stated.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari condemned the murder and described it as a “tragic incident.”
PTI Chairman Imran Khan said the Karachi-based Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) was behind the murder.
Å“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the brutal killing of Zahra Shahid Hussain, Zahra apa [sister] to us, in Karachi tonight. A targeted act of terror!” Khan said in a statement issued late on Saturday.
Å“I hold Altaf Hussain directly responsible for the murder, as he had openly threatened PTI workers and leaders through public broadcasts,” he added, referring to the MQM leader, who has been in self-imposed exile in London since 1992.
Å“I also hold the British government responsible, as I had warned them about British citizen Altaf Hussain after his open threats to kill PTI workers,” Khan stated.
British MP George Galloway also blamed the British government for the assassination.
Å“The British citizen Altaf Hussain is responsible for the murder of the woman vice president of Imran Khan’s PTI in Karachi today,” Galloway tweeted on his account.
Å“Zahra Hussain’s blood is now on [British Foreign Secretary] William Hagueâ„¢s hands. I warned him this would happen. Arrest Altaf now!” he added.
On Sunday, Pakistan will hold a rerun of the parliamentary election in the Defense neighborhood and adjoining areas of Karachi, which was ordered after the PTI accused the MQM of widespread vote rigging and intimidation in the May 11 parliamentary election.
MQM leader Altaf Hussain condemned the assassination and denied any involvement in the murder.
Pakistan held elections for 272 directly elected seats of the National Assembly on May 11. An additional 70 seats — 60 for women and 10 for non-Muslims — will be allocated on the basis of a partyâ„¢s share in the directly elected seats.
Elections for a total of 577 seats in the four provincial assemblies were also held on the same day.
About 86 million people were eligible to vote in the election.
According to unofficial results, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifâ„¢s Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) won a plurality of the seats in the National Assembly.
The PML-N has so far captured 124 seats, with the PTI and the Pakistan Peopleâ„¢s Party (PPP) winning around 30 each.
One day after people went to the polls, the PTI chairman said that the elections were rigged in Karachi and Punjab.
Since May 12, thousands of PTI supporters have held demonstrations in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad, and other cities to protest against the alleged vote rigging.
This article originally appeared on : Press TV