Imran Khan: Former Pakistani Prime Minister shot in the lower leg in an assassination attempt at a rally
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan he survived a shooting at a political rally on Thursday that his party called an assassination attempt, which killed one person and wounded several others and sparked protests among Khan’s supporters.
A video of the alleged attack shows Khan waving from an open-top truck just outside the city of Gujranwala, in Punjab province, when shots rang out, forcing members of his party to duck for cover.
Bullet hit Khan in the leg, said senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Umar, who later added: “Yes, he was shot, there are grains stuck in his leg, his bone is chipped, he was also shot in his thigh. ”
Khan was taken from the gathering site for treatment to Lahore, about two and a half hours’ drive away, and was in a stable condition, Umar added.
The man suspected of shooting at the rally was taken into custody on Thursday, police said. The male suspect was arrested with a 9 mm pistol and two blank bullets, police said.
At least one person was killed in the incident, according to Faisal Javed, a senior PTI politician and close ally of Khan who suffered a head wound in the attack. The victim’s name has not been released.
In a video statement, Javed, who can be seen sitting while undergoing treatment, said: “Pray for us, for Imran Khan, pray for our fellow workers who are seriously injured and pray for our party member who died and died. ”
Earlier on Thursday, Senator Fawad Chaudhry, a senior PTI politician and Khan’s former information minister, said Khan was undergoing surgery and six other people were injured and were still receiving treatment.
“We want to know who is behind the incident, which people trained the accused, what was this boy thinking, how much money did he get, where did he get it from,” Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry said. Pervaiz Elahi, wrote on Twitter.
Khan was on the seventh day of a nationwide tour, during which he held rallies calling for early elections to be held before next August. The so-called “long march” started in Lahore on October 28 and was supposed to end in Islamabad after passing through several Pakistani cities.
It is one of a number of rallies the former Pakistan cricketer has held since his dramatic ouster as prime minister in a no-confidence vote in April. During that time, he repeatedly claimed, without any evidence, that the United States was behind his loss of power.
His claims struck a chord with the young population in a country where anti-American sentiment is high and where the rising cost of living has fueled anti-establishment sentiment.
After the shooting, protests broke out across Pakistan on Thursday in support of Khan, including in Islamabad and Peshawar, where around 800 protesters gathered. They blocked the roads for about two hours holding party flags and shouting slogans against the army and the federal government.
Several PTI politicians addressed the crowd, including provincial assembly member Fazal Elahi, who said the attack was part of a conspiracy against the PTI leadership.
“Today we held a peaceful protest that will continue in the future,” Elahi said.
Thursday’s shooting is likely to further inflame the already tense situation between Khan and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who has led the campaign to oust him from office.
Khan alleged that Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and a senior intelligence official, Major General Faisal Naseer, were behind Thursday’s attack.
Khan made the allegations in a statement shared by senior PTI leader Umar, who said he had spoken to Khan recently.
“I was getting information in advance that this was going to happen,” Khan said, according to Umar. “These people should be removed from their positions, if they are not removed then there will be protests.”
Sharif, however, condemned Thursday’s attack on his political rival on Twitter.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the incident of firing on PTI Chairman Imran Khan,” Sharif wrote, adding that he had sought an “urgent report on the incident” and would pray for the recovery of the injured.
“Violence should have no place in the politics of our country,” Sharif wrote.
On October 21, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) recommended that Khan be disqualified from political office for five years, a move that is likely to exacerbate political tensions in the country.
Reading out the recommendation, ECP chief Sikandar Sultan Raja said Khan was disqualified for being involved in “corrupt acts”.
The commission said its decision was based on Khan “making false statements” regarding the declaration of sales of gifts sent to him by the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Dubai while he was in power – an offense that is illegal under the country’s constitution.
This is not the first time that Pakistani politicians have been attacked.
Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007, and then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani survived an assassination attempt in 2008.
The US condemned the attack on the former prime minister on Thursday. “The United States strongly condemns the attack on Imran Khan and his supporters and hopes for the speedy recovery of all those injured. Violence has no place in politics,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to New Mexico.
“We call on all parties to remain calm and refrain from violence.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an old photo of Imran Khan that was mistakenly distributed by the Associated Press. It has been removed.
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