- Former cricketer Imran Khan shot in the shin
- led a march demanding a snap election in Islamabad
- ‘It was a clear assassination attempt,’ says aide
- Pakistan has a long history of political violence
- White House condemns attack on Khan
LAHORE (Reuters) – Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was shot in the shin on Saturday after an anti-government march was attacked in the eastern part of the country. .
Khan, who was ousted as prime minister in a parliamentary confidence vote in April, stood and waved to thousands of cheerleaders from the roof of a container truck six days after a protest march to Islamabad.
Several people in his convoy were wounded in an attack at Wazirabad, about 200 km (120 miles) from the capital. Information Minister Mariyum Aurangzeb said the suspect had been arrested.
“It was a clear assassination attempt. Khan was beaten but he is stable. He was bleeding profusely,” said a spokesman for Khan’s Pakistan Teliku-e-Insaf (PTI) party. One Fawad Chowdhury told Reuters.
“If the shooter hadn’t been stopped by the people there, the entire PTI executive would have been wiped out.”
Khan is out of danger, said Dr Faisal Sultan, who is also the director of the Lahore hospital where the former prime minister was being treated. He told journalists that initial scans and his X-rays found bullet fragments in Khan’s leg.
Police have yet to comment on the attack, which drew condemnation from the White House.
In a video statement, one of Khan’s top aides, Asad Umar, said Khan believed Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaura and Intelligence Service Maj. Gen. Faisal Nasser were behind the attack. said. Umar did not provide any evidence to support this claim.
Speaking to journalists alongside Aurangzeb, Sanaura denied the allegations and said the Sharif-led coalition had called for an independent and strong investigation. Sharif also condemned the shooting and ordered an immediate investigation.
The military’s media department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations against Naseer.
In a previous statement, the military called the shooting “highly reprehensible”. Khan, 70, has accused the military of supporting plans to remove him from power. Last week, the military held a press conference to deny his allegations.
Khan’s party is in power, and Punjab Prime Minister Purvais Elahi, where the shooting took place, said he was forming a joint investigation team. Elahi said at first it looked like he had two assailants.
Witness Kazafi Bhatt told Reuters, “After hearing a volley of bullets, I saw Imran Khan and his aide collapse into a truck.”
“Then the gunman fired one shot, but was caught by activists from Khan’s party.”
In alleged footage of the shooting, run by multiple channels but not confirmed by Reuters, a man with a handgun is grabbed from behind by one of the people at the rally. He then tries to escape.
A television channel indicated a suspected shooter who appeared to be in his 20s or 30s. He said he wanted to kill Khan and acted alone.
“He (Khan) was misleading people. I couldn’t stand it,” the suspect said in the video.
No one has yet been charged in this attack.
Khan, who was convicted by Pakistan’s electoral commission for illegally selling state gifts after his downfall, denied charges he denied and was en route to Islamabad in a campaign to overthrow Sharif’s government. incited a large crowd.
A Khan party member said there were reports that one person had been killed in the attack.
protesters on the street
Handsome and charismatic, Khan was the first cricketer to gain international attention in the early 1970s.
Initially known as an aggressive, fast-paced bowler with a distinctive leaping action, he later became one of the world’s best all-rounders, a cricket-obsessed Pakistani hero, and one day hopeless. captained a team of whimsical stars with bright prospects. 1992 World Cup winner.
His first wife, Jemima Goldsmith, who lives in the UK, expressed relief on Twitter that Khan was not in danger.
“News we fear…thank God he’s safe,” she wrote. thank you from
Pakistan has a long history of political violence. Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack in December 2007 after holding an election rally in Rawalpindi city, which borders Islamabad.
Her father, former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was hanged in the same city in 1979 after being overthrown in a military coup.
Local media on Thursday released footage of Khan waving at the crowd as he evacuated his car after the shots were fired as people ran and screamed.
He was taken to hospital as protesters poured into the streets of several parts of the country and PTI leaders demanded justice.
PTI colleague Faisal Javed, who was also injured and had blood stains on his clothes, told the hospital’s Geo TV:
Since being ousted, Khan has held rallies across Pakistan to fuel opposition to a government struggling to save the economy from the crisis left by Khan’s regime.
He planned to lead the Grand Highway to Islamabad, slowly heading north in a motorized caravan, gathering more support along the way before entering the capital.
Additional reporting by Aftab Ahmed, Sudipto Ganguly and Tanvi Mehta. By Krishna N. Das.Editing by John Stonestreet and Nick McPhee
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