Terror threat looms over Karachi by-poll

Terror threat looms over Karachi by-poll Karachi: Pakistan's financial hub Karachi is all set for a tense by-poll tomorrow in one of the most sensitive and ethnically divided area of the city amid fears of terror threats and suicide attacks.

The polls for the provincial assembly seat Orangi town, which fell vacant after the murder of Mutthaida-e-Qaumi Movement legislator Raza Haider in August, is a direct contest between the MQM and the Awami National Party (ANP).

Riaz Gul of ANP, MQM?s Saifuddin Khalid and two independent candidates are contesting for the seat. Tensions escalated today when the ANP which represents the Pasthun speaking migrants announced that it would boycott tomorrow's polls as it feared widespread rigging by the MQM, which has the support of Urdu speaking population of the city.

After an executive council meeting, the ANP leaders said it was decided by party to boycott the election because its demand to hold the elections under the supervision of the Army was not accepted by the Sindh government.

Reza Haider was gunned down with his guard outside a mosque two on August 2 in a mosque here where he had gone to attend the funeral of a friend's mother. Meanwhile, Commander Sachal Rangers Brigadier Wasim Ayub citing intelligence reports said that there were threats of terrorists trying to carry out suicide attacks at some polling stations.

"We have intelligence reports that terrorists may try to plant bombs during elections or carry out suicide attacks and resort to firing," he said. DIG police West Sultan Khawaja also said that they also had intelligence reports about such threats.

"More than 1000 Rangers and more than 2600 police personnel would be deployed to handle any untoward situation," he said, adding dozens of suspects have been arrested in the run up to the elections.