Four killed, ex-minister injured in Pakistan's election violence
Former Pakistani minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was injured and his two guards and two supporters were killed on Monday when unidentified gunmen opened fire at his election office in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, Xinhua reported.
Doctors said that Sheikh Rashid, the Information and Railways Minister in former president Pervez Musharraf's government, was injured after he fell down as two masked gunmen riding a motorcycle used automatic guns to open fire.
Earlier Javed Qureshi, personal assistant to Sheikh Rashid, said that the former minister received bullets in his legs. He was shifted to District Headquarters Hospital where doctors said that they found no bullets wounds but only injuries caused by the slip.
Sheikh Rashid, chief of Awami Muslim League party, is contesting bye-elections on a seat of the National Assembly, the lower house of the parliament. The election on the vacant seat is due on Feb. 24.
Rashid was leaving his election office at Khayaban-e-Sir Syed locality for an election meeting when the incident happened, said a local leader of Sheikh Rashid's party, Nasrulalh Jaral.
Jaral said that motorcyclists fired at Sheikh Rashid Ahmed who was in the election office with around 15 supporters.
He accused the Punjab government of masterminding the attack, but the charge was denied by a spokesman for the government. Punjab is Pakistan's most populous province, and contributes more than 50 percent of Pakistan's gross domestic product.
The spokesman for the Punjab government, Senator Pervez Rashid, condemned the attack and said the government has ordered inquiry.
The gunmen fled after the attack. No one has claimed responsibility and police said they are investigating as to what were the motives behind the attack.
The government had earlier postponed bye-election fearing terrorist acts. Last month the Supreme Court had ordered holding of election.
Pakistani President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered inquiry into the incident, a presidential spokesman said.
Supporters of Sheikh Rashid staged demonstrations in Rawalpindi to protest against the incident. They chanted slogans against the Punjab government.