Haqiqi man dies in by-election campaign
KARACHI: The campaign for the June 22 elections in NA-255 turned violent on Sunday evening when a Haqiqi worker died in the struggle between the splinter group and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement for control of some areas.
Parts of Landhi were closed down on Monday because of the death of Zamir Ahmed, who was member of the “elders’ wing” of Haqiqi. Haqiqi claims that Mr Ahmed was killed by a police party. His burial took place in Landhi, which was partly closed in protest.
“It is a targeted killing and Zamir Ahmed was not provided medical aid which could save him,” a Haqiqi spokesman charged. Haqiqi claimed that the police and Rangers are supporting the MQM, which it said was harassing the group’s supporters in Landhi and other areas.
However, Dr Farooq Sattar, the MQM’s senior deputy convener and candidate from the constituency, claimed that some “unscrupulous elements” were creating a law-and-order situation in the area. Later, a press release of the MQM stated that Mr Sattar had sent telegrams to President Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali, Supreme Court chief justice Shaikh Riaz Ahmad, Sindh governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, and other leading figures against “terrorist activities by the Haqiqi.” Mr Sattar, whose party is holding the home department in Sindh, demanded that the authorities take action against “elements which are creating harassment among the people.”
The constituency has become tense since Mary 8 when Dr Ibad, on a visit to Landhi, visited Baitul Hamza, the head office of the Haqiqi. On May 10 there was violence when police arrested two leaders of Haqiqi, one of whom was a brother of party chairman Afaq Ahmed.
Firing in the air and partial closure of Landhi has become a routine in the constituency as both parties try to prove their dominance in the area. Haqiqi, whose leadership is in hiding since Nov. 17, when the government agreed to provide the MQM access to the area, has been trying to keep MQM workers away. “We are in the area and in touch with the people,” claimed a Haqiqi spokesman. “We are working under the threat of being arrested but we are in touch with the people,” he said.
The MQM, on the other hand, has sent its MNAs to contact people and meet the “elders” of the areas. The MQM medical aid committee has held a medical camp, which was visited by MQM provincial ministers Shoaib Bukhari, Mohammad Hussain and Rauf Siddiqui, MNAs Kanwar Khalid Younus and Nawab Mirza.
Landhi remains the main arena between the two sides, with the MQM interested in setting up its zonal base. The Landhi has become symbolically important to the MQM because Afaq Ahmed was living there and Haqiqi has its head office in the area, said a source in the MQM.
The third main party contending the bye-election is the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal.
On Jan. 15, the bye-election in NA-242 turned violent when the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal and the MQM claimed attacks on their camps. Later, in an incident during which two MQM workers were killed and an FIR was launched against a union councilor, who belonged to the Jamaat-e-Islami. The case is pending. Dr Mirajul Huda Siddiqui, the Karachi amir of the Jamaat-e-Islami who was the MMA’s candidate, lost the election to his MQM rival.