Karachi remained shut on Friday, the second time this week, as the city’s main party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), called for a strike after it faced another attack from militants a day earlier.
Five people died when a party election office was bombed on late Thursday night, forcing the MQM to call for a strike. “There is no other option for us to protest,” party leader Dr Farooq Sattar said.
Earlier this week, the Karachi-based MQM called a strike on Tuesday after its electoral office was attacked by a suicide bomber in which two people died.
In both the instances, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attacks. Spokesman for the TTP Ehsanullah Ehsan told the media on Friday that the attack was part of a policy “to attack secular-minded parties.”
The TTP has also attacked corner meetings of the Peshawar-based Awami National Party, in the past killing one of their senior leaders Bashir Bilour in 2002, and injuring another leader Ghulam Bilour earlier this year.
Asfandyar Wali Khan, the grandson of Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, and the head of the Awami National Party says that the TTP is attacking all those who do not support them or attack their ideology. “The two parties that are actively campaigning without fear of attacks are Mian Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N party and the Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party.”
Fearful of attacks, the largest party in Pakistan — the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, has not yet started its poll campaign.