GUJRANWALA: Former Pakistani Prime Minister and Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan was shot and wounded in the leg, in an attack on his protest march in Gujranwala, in the country’s Punjab province.
One of Khan’s supporters was killed in the shooting in Wazirabad, officials said. Several leaders of PTI were also injured.
Imran Khan was leading his party’s anti-government long march toward Islamabad from Lahore for the country’s “real independence”
Khan is actively mobilizing the masses since his government was ousted through a parliamentary no-confidence move a few months back. However, he has adopted a clear stance and alleged that his government was toppled through an international conspiracy, facilitated by local players. According to Khan, the incumbent PML-N-led coalition government of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was installed under the same international conspiracy.
PTI senior leader Senator Faisal Javed, who was injured when a bullet grazed his face, said that a party worker was killed during the attack, while another was severely injured. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack on 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician.
Police released a video confession of a man they arrested who they say had attempted to kill the former prime minister. It was unclear under what conditions the interview was carried out but in it the man is asked by police why he opened fire, and replies: “He was misguiding the people. I wanted to kill him. I tried to kill him.”
The head of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital has said Khan is in stable conditions and conscious. Speaking to reporters, Faisal Sultan said there were bullet fragments in the PTI leader’s leg and his tibia bone was chipped. “This is only the initial assessment, and we are taking him to the operation theatre for detailed evaluation,” he said. Sultan added that a four-member medical board had been formed to monitor and evaluate Khan’s health.
Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi called the attack on Imran Khan a “heinous assassination attempt”. “I thank Allah that he is safe but injured with few bullets in his leg & hopefully non-critical,” he tweeted.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also condemned the attack and said: “I strongly condemn the firing at Imran Khan’s rally. An immediate report of the incident has been sought from the Interior Minister. We pray for the speedy recovery of Imran and other injured. The Federation will provide all possible support to the Punjab government in the security/investigation of the incident. Violence should have no place in national politics,”
Foreign Minister and Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari “strongly condemned” the attack on Imran Khan and prayed for his swift recovery.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the attack on Khan and his supporters was “completely unacceptable.” “I strongly condemn this violence. It has no place in politics, in any democracy, or in our society,” he said. “I’m wishing a speedy recovery to Imran and all who were injured today.”