A senior female Pakistani politician has been gunned down in the city of Karachi.
Zahra Shahid Hussain, 60, was the senior vice-president of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, led by former star cricketer, Imran Khan.
According to initial reports, unidentified gunmen shot her outside her home in the city’s Defence neighborhood, and fled away leaving her seriously wounded.
Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper quoted the police as saying the shooting happened during an attempted robbery. However, this could not be verified. The motive for her killing remains unclear.
Earlier, the local police had said that two bikers lying in wait for her had ambushed her.
“The assailants opened fire on Zahra as soon as reached the gate of her residence. Apparently they were there to target her only”, a police official told Geo News.
“The PTI leader got killed resisting a robbery,” the official said.
Ms. Hussain died on the way to the hospital. According to hospital sources, she was shot in the head twice, apparently from a point-blank range.
“One bullet, which entered her chin, went up through the head, and exited from the back of her head, became the cause of her death,” the hospital sources said.
Ms. Hussain’s assassination comes on the heels of a highly-contested re-run of the vote in the area following last Saturday’s general election. The re-run was ordered after Mr. Khan’s party accused the winning party of voter rigging and intimidation.
According to Pakistani media, Mr. Khan blamed the head of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), for his party mate’s death.
According to early local media reports, Mr. Khan held MQM “directly responsible” for the murder, saying that the MQM chief had openly threatened the PTI leaders and workers.
The MQM – which took most of the seats in Karachi – denies the accusations.