Lahore: Three office-bearers of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) were shot and killed a day before a by-election in Punjab province.
According to police, Malik Aslam Channa who was contesting the election for the slot of PPP union council chairman in the forthcoming local body election, was holding a corner meeting at about 10 pm last evening regarding the by-poll in Okara district, 200 kilometres from here, when unidentified motorcyclists reached there and opened indiscriminate fire on the gathering.
Channa and four PPP workers suffered bullet injuries. Channa and two others succumbed to their injuries before they got any medical aid at Lahore's Jinnah Hospital. The condition of other two injured is stated to be critical.
Rangers and army have been called in for the by-polls on two National Assembly seats in Okara and Lahore for tomorrow.
Former Pakistan president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari condemned the targeted assassination of Channa and the two other party workers.
"The cold blooded, targeted and pre-meditated murder of the PPP candidate and workers on the eve of by-elections and as local bodies' polls draw near has raised legitimate questions about who is behind these murders. We demand a transparent and thorough probe," he said.
Zardari said there are also suspicions that on the eve of by-elections and the forthcoming local bodies' elections, "the unnerved government wants to send a tough message to political opponents as it unsuccessfully did last year by killing over a dozen political workers in Lahore. These suspicions must be addressed".