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Pakistan repeats vote despite killing

| Sunday, May 19, 2013, 10:00 p.m.

KARACHI, Pakistan — Pakistan held a repeat election on Sunday in an upscale area of the southern city of Karachi that was plagued with allegations of vote-rigging, despite the shooting death of a senior member of former cricket star Imran Khan's party.

Khan blamed Zahra Shahid's killing late Saturday in Karachi on the Muttahida Quami Movement, the same party he accused of vote rigging in the May 11 election. The MQM denied the allegations.

Gunmen shot Shahid in front of her home after they tried to snatch her purse and then sped away on a motorcycle, said police Officer Sarfaraz Nawaz. The culprits made it look like a robbery, but it could have been a targeted killing, he said.

Shahid was vice president for Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party in surrounding Sindh province.

Khan blamed the head of the MQM for the killing on Twitter, saying, “I hold Altaf Hussain directly responsible for the murder as he had openly threatened PTI workers and leaders through public broadcasts.”

Hussain is in self-imposed exile in London because of legal cases against him in Pakistan.

Khan also blamed the British government, saying he had warned officials about Hussain's threats against his party workers.

The MQM, which is the strongest party in Karachi and has long controlled the city, has often been accused of using violence against its competitors. The party has boycotted the repeat polling being held Sunday for a national assembly seat and two provincial assembly seats.

Turnout for the vote seemed light compared with the crowds that came out on May 11.

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