Karachi: Cricketer turned politician Imran Khan has held the chief of Mutthaida Qaumi Movement (MQM) directly responsible for the killing of a senior leader of his party in the city.
"I hold Altaf Hussain directly responsible for the murder as he had openly threatened Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf workers and leaders through public broadcasts," Imran said in a statement from his hospital bed late on Saturday.
The statement came hours after the senior vice-president of the Sindh chapter of Imran Khan's party, Zara Yousuf Shahid was shot dead late at night outside her residence in Defence housing authority phase 4.
A senior police official said they were investigating from two angles whether it was a target killing or a deadly reaction to a robbery attempt.
Imran said MQM leader, Altaf Hussain had been issuing threatening statements against his party leaders and workers since the elections on May 11.
The killing comes one day before re-polling is held at 43 stations on Sunday for the national assembly seat of NA 250 constituency which the MQM has boycotted.
The Election Commission ordered the re-polling following several days of protests by the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and other parties over rigging in the constituency during the May 11 polls.
Imran further held the British government responsible, claiming that the UK had been warned to act against Altaf Hussain following open threats to kill his party workers.
Hussain has lived in London in self exile since 1993. Shortly after the incident, the MQM chief issued a statement of his own where he condemned the murder and demanded that the government immediately arrest the culprits and accord them the most severe punishment as per law.
Police said the motive of the attack on Zara could not be immediately ascertained.
SP Clifton Division Nasir Aftab said that initial findings pointed to a case of a purse snatching gone wrong.
Shortly after the incident, a large number of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf workers gathered outside the National Medical Centre, where Hussain had been brought for treatment.