Karachi: Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf on Monday secured an overwhelming victory in repolling held in one constituency of Pakistan's violence-plagued city of Karachi, election officials said. PTI's Arif Alvi bagged 17,489 votes, while his opponent Naimatullah Khan of Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) managed to secure only 446 votes for the NA-250 seat though his party boycotted the poll, according to unofficial results published in the Pakistani media.
The repoll was ordered in 43 polling stations after allegations of vote-rigging in the upmarket district of Pakistan's biggest city during the May 11 general election. The polling of an eligible 86,316 voters was held amid tight security, as there was tension and fear in the city after the brazen killing of PTI's senior vice-president Zahra Shahid Hussain outside her residence on Saturday night.
Though a heavy contingent of Police, Rangers, and military personnel was deployed to guard polling stations, voter turnout remained extremely low. Polling was marred by strong protests by the MQM workers in Karachi and Hyderabad, as PTI chief Imran Khan blamed the murder of Hussain (59) on MQM chief Altaf Hussain, who lives in exile in London.
Imran's statement sparked a strong reaction from the MQM, Karachi's dominant party, which along with the Pakistan Peoples Party had announced to boycott the election. The MQM and PPP boycotted the re-polling after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) rejected their demands of a re-do for the entire constituency.
"Our victory in Karachi marks a new era of peace, tolerance," Alvi said. "The people have shown their strong will for a change in the political landscape of this city, which is the backbone of the country in all terms." The May 11 general election was won by Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (N), which is set to form the government.