Synopsis: Ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan has survived a shooting at a political gathering on Thursday that his party described as an assassination attempt, which killed one person and injured several others and sparked protests among Khan’s fans.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan shot in lower leg in reported assassination attempt
Ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan has survived a shooting at a political gathering on Thursday that his party described as an assassination attempt, which killed one person and injured several others and sparked protests among Khan’s fans.
The alleged attack was captured on video with Khan waving from an open-topped truck just outside the town of Gujranwala, Punjab province, when shots were fired, sending his party members running for cover.
According to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Asad Umar, a bullet struck Khan in the leg. He subsequently said, “Yes, he has been wounded, there are pellets lodged in his leg, his bone has been chipped, and he has also been shot in his thigh.”
Video shows rally where Imran Khan was shot
Imran Khan was transferred from the rally location to Lahore for treatment, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive away, and was in stable condition, according to Umar.
According to authorities, a man suspected of firing shots at the gathering was detained on Thursday. According to authorities, the man was apprehended carrying a 9mm pistol and two empty magazines.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s Ministry of Information published a video of an anonymous man confessing to carrying out the attack.
The man states in the video that he “wanted to assassinate Imran Khan” because he “was fooling people,” and that he had no collaborators.
“During the call to prayer, they (Khan’s rallies) were blaring music and chanting through the loudspeakers.” “I didn’t like this occurring on our soil,” the man supposedly says in the video, referring to his intentions.
We are unable to corroborate the circumstances surrounding the video’s capture and, as a result, is not showing it.
According to Faisal Javed, a prominent PTI lawmaker and close Khan friend who got a head wound in the attack, at least one person was killed. The victim’s identity has not been revealed.
“Please pray for us, for Imran Khan, for our fellow workers who are gravely hurt, and for our party comrade who has died and is killed,” Javed said in a video statement, sitting up while undergoing treatment.
Sen. Fawad Chaudhry, a top PTI lawmaker and Khan’s former information minister, claimed earlier Thursday that Khan was undergoing surgery and that six others were hurt and were being treated.
“We want to know who is behind the incident, who trained the accused, what is the thought behind this boy’s preparation, how much money he got, and where he obtained it from,” Punjab state Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi posted on Twitter.
The long march of Imran Khan
Imran Khan was on the seventh day of a statewide trip in which he conducted rallies pushing for early elections before the end of the year. The so-called “long march” began on October 28 in Lahore and was scheduled to end in Islamabad after passing through several Pakistani cities.
It is one of the rallies conducted by the former Pakistani cricket captain since his dramatic fall as Prime Minister in a no-confidence vote in April. During that period, he has often asserted, without evidence, that the US was responsible for his loss of power.
Following the shooting, rallies in support of Khan erupted across Pakistan on Thursday, including in Islamabad and Peshawar, where some 800 people gathered. They stopped roadways for approximately two hours while waving party flags and yelling anti-army and anti-federal government slogans.
Several PTI lawmakers spoke to the gathering, including provincial assembly member Fazal Elahi, who said the incident was part of a plot to destabilize the PTI leadership.
“Today we held a peaceful protest which would continue in the future as well,” Elahi remarked.
Political tensions are rising
The shooting on Thursday is likely to aggravate an already difficult relationship between Khan and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who led the effort to oust him from power.
Khan claims Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, and a senior intelligence official, Maj. Gen. Faisal Naseer, were responsible for the attack on Thursday.
Khan made the allegations in a statement released by PTI senior leader Umar, who claimed to have recently spoken with Khan.
“I was getting information that this was going to happen from beforehand,” Khan said, according to Umar. “These men need to be removed from their posts, if they are not removed then there will be protests.”
Sharif, on the other hand, slammed the attack on his political adversary on Twitter on Thursday.
“I condemn the incident of firing on PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the strongest words,”Sharif tweeted, adding that he has requested a “immediate report on the incident” and will pray for the healing of those affected.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) proposed on October 21 that Khan be barred from holding political office for five years, a move that is likely to increase political tensions in the country.
During the reading of the report, ECP chief Sikandar Sultan Raja declared that Khan was disqualified due to his involvement in “corrupt practises.”
The panel stated that its judgement was based on Khan’s “false statements” on the declaration of the sale of gifts delivered to him by Saudi and Dubai elites while in office – an offence prohibited by the country’s constitution.
This is not the first time Pakistani politicians have come under attack.
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