15 killed in poll violence in PakistanFebruary 18th, 2008 - 8:49 pm ICT by admin
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, Feb 18 (IANS) At least 15 people were killed and more than 80 injured in different areas across Pakistan in election-related violence, an interior ministry spokesman said Monday. “Most of these were isolated incidents with no major violence reported from anywhere,” spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema told IANS.
He said that out of these casualties, seven were killed Monday in different cities while eight died the day before.
On Monday, four people died in shootings in Punjab, two in Sindh and one in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), said the official adding that 80 were reported injured mostly in skirmishes at the polling stations among rival groups.
“Monday’s polling was generally peaceful and orderly except for sporadic incidents,” Cheema said.
In Lahore, the victims of Sunday’s shooting included a provincial assembly candidate from former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N).
The candidate, Asif Ashraf, died as motorcyclists opened fire on his vehicle when he was visiting his constituency.
“I congratulate the nation on peaceful polls… I am contesting elections since 1985 and this is for the first time that such peaceful elections have been held,” Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, president of the President Pervez Musharraf-backed Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, told IANS.
He said there were no reports of violence but some incidents happened which he said might not be election-related. “In Pakistan such incidents happen routinely and we cannot say that it was election related,” Hussain said.
Six people were injured during a clash between supporters of slain former prime minister Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and PML-Q during voting, police said.
Supporters of rival candidates fought with bamboo sticks in Ghotki district of Bhutto’s home province of Sindh.
In Bajaur tribal district bordering Afghanistan, a bomb blast ripped through a wall of a polling station while around 300 people queued to cast their votes, officials and witnesses said.
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