KARACHI - Skirmishes between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) for NA-246 by-poll are gaining heat with each passing day.

PTI has set up its election camp again at Karimabad, the area where the PTI camp was rooted out due to attack by some thugs. Addressing a press conference, party leaders announced that PTI chairman Imran Khan will visit Karachi on April 9. “He will spend the whole day in the constituency,” announced the PTI candidate for the by-poll, Imran Ismail. The party also announced holding a public gathering on April 19.

Party leaders said that MQM workers are forcibly collecting CNICs from the residents of Azizabad, Karimabad, Hussainabad and other areas of the constituency to rig the elections. “MQM activists are taking CNICs and threatening people not to vote PTI,” said Ismail.

Law enforcers will present in the area on the polling day and MQM workers cannot use people for their politics.

PTI leader Faisal Wada demanded the government to confiscate the property of MQM chief Altaf Hussain and issue red warrants to bring him back in the country. He also blamed the MQM chief and workers of leaving the country.  PTI Karachi chapter head Ali Zaidi said MQM workers destroyed the PTI election camp and they put blame on the innocent residents of the area. “Put as many flags as you want, the residents will vote for bat on the election day,” said Zaidi. He once again asked the MQM of why the criminals were found from Nine-Zero during the raid.

On the other side, MQM’s Haider Abbas Rizvi, addressing a press conference at Jinnah Ground in response, said the PTI was not even able to get any poling agent from the area then how they could get votes for the people of the area. “The PTI will now demand votes with the security from the government of Pakistan.” He once again raised question over the negotiation between the PTI and the federal government which, according to him, seemed of vested interest against the MQM. Rizvi said it was crystal clear now that PTI did not want to contest election instead wanted a way out. PTI is behaving in a way that there would be a close competition between the MQM and the PTI. “Let me tell them, there is no comparison when it comes to MQM.”

Speaking on Faisal Wada’s allegations, he said they would file a defamation suit against Wada. “You need to answer the questions of Javed Hashmi,” he pointed out. “You need to tell the public about your stance on your return to the parliament and you need to answer about your member Israr Ullah Gandapur.”  MQM’s leader Faisal Subzwari also said that NA-246 not only comprised of Azizabad. “Federal B Area and Gharibabad are also the part of NA-246 where people had given their lives for the MQM,” he said, adding it is the duty of the election commission to look into the language being used by the PTI against the MQM.