Country Report Pakistan
- ID: 2101420
- August 2015
- Region: Pakistan
- 25 Pages
- The Economist Intelligence Unit
On August 18th a legislator and leading member of the opposition Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was shot in an assassination attempt in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province. Although the intended target of the attack, Rashid Godil, did not succumb to his injuries, he remains in critical condition.
All MQM members had resigned from their seats in the National Assembly (the lower house of parliament), the Senate (the upper house) and the Sindh provincial assembly on August 12th. The government has been pushing the MQM lawmakers to return to parliament, but talks have not yet produced a resolution. One of the key reasons for the walkout was the MQM's unverified claim that the government and the military had been targeting its supporters in a crackdown on violence in Karachi. The crackdown has brought the government into direct conflict with the MQM. The latter has been accused by rights organisations of using violence to strengthen its grip on Karachi, where the party wields significant economic and political power.
The incident occurred only two days after Shuja Khanzada, the home minister of Punjab province-the electoral stronghold of the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif-was killed in a suicide bombing at his home. The two incidents do not appear to be connected. Preliminary evidence indicates that the suicide attack came in retaliation for the death of Malik Ishaq, the founder and head of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a banned militant group operating in Balochistan.