PTI Chairman Imran Khan, from his hospital bed, gave a call on Sunday to the party leaders and workers to hold protest demonstrations against the alleged targeted killing of PTI Sindh chapter leader Zehra Shahid.

The tension on both the sides rose when Imran Khan directly held MQM chief Altaf Hussain responsible for the killing of Zehra.

As the Altaf loyalists gathered at the party headquarters, Nine Zero, to express their anger over the allegations of the PTI chairman, their party chief spoke to them from London and used a harsh language against Imran Khan.

Reacting to the MQM chief’s remarks, the PTI chairman, in his video media talk, said MQM was trying to control Karachi by using pressure tactics against its opponents. He asked the party leaders and workers to stand against the tyranny and foil the evil designs of the killers of Zehra Shahid by converting Karachi into a peaceful city once again through reaching each resident of the city. Imran said, “I don’t want to derail the democratic process by demanding fresh elections on the ground of the rigging against the PTI candidates.”

PTI and MQM, which were not at daggers drawn before the general elections 2013, engaged in a war of words over the results of NA-250 in which the Election Commission ordered re-polling at 43 polling stations after a probe which established polling irregularities had been committed in these polling stations.

The MQM, in its reply through a press conference, announced to boycott the re-polling at 43 polling stations of NA-250.

On Saturday night (May 18), a day before the re-polling at 43 polling stations, some unidentified assailants gunned down PTI Sindh chapter leader Zehra Shahid at the doorstep of her house after snatching a wallet and other valuables from her.  The PTI chief, immediately after the killing of the party leader, alleged MQM was involved in the assassination, saying Altaf’s loyalists feared their political demise with the emergence of PTI and resorted to violence against their opponents.

Meanwhile, the PTI Punjab chapter leadership after the expiry of deadline to the Election Commission for a recount at least in six National Assembly constituencies by verifying the voters using NADRA thumbs impression technology, announced to hold protest demonstrations in front of all the divisional headquarters of Punjab on May 21.

PTI Punjab President Ijaz Chaudhry and General Secretary Dr Yasmin Rashid along with Hamid Khan and Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri made this announcement while addressing a press conference. They added they would hold a demonstration outside the Election Commission in Islamabad on May 24 if PTI’s demand for recounting in six National Assembly constituencies by verifying the voters through NADRA thumbs impression system was not met. The PTI leaders, while demanding recounting in NA-57, 110, 122, 125, 154 and 239, said the party would accept the results of the recount.

Moreover, the PTI volunteers continued protest demonstration on the eighth consecutive day on Ghazi Road against the alleged poll rigging in NA-122 and 125.

With PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s call for protest demonstration in Karachi on Monday (today) against the assassination of the party leader, the people in Sindh’s provincial capital believe that success of the protest may turn the political situation against MQM in its other strongholds.

At the same time they fear an ugly atmosphere as a result of the protest demonstrations of PTI and MQM despite assurances from both the sides that the protests will be peaceful.