Monday, April 22, 2024

Imran Khan wounded in shooting

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Islamabad – Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan was shot in the shin on Thursday when his anti-government protest convoy came under attack in the east of the country in what his aides said was a clear assassination attempt.

Khan, 70, ousted as prime minister in April, was six days into a miles-long protest procession, standing and waving to thousands of cheering supporters from the roof of a container truck when the shots rang out.

Several in his convoy were wounded in the attack in Wazirabad, nearly 200 kilometres (120 miles) from Islamabad, and Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said a suspect had been arrested.

“It was a clear assassination attempt,” Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesperson for Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, told Reuters. “Khan was hit, but he’s stable. There was a lot of bleeding.

“If the shooter had not been stopped by people there, the entire PTI leadership would have been wiped out.”

In a statement, the military called the shooting “highly condemnable”.

Khan, the highlky-decorated former Pakistan cricket captain, accused the military of backing the plan to oust him from power.

Last week, the military held an unprecedented news conference to deny the claims.

In purported footage of the shooting, being run by multiple channels, a man with a handgun is grabbed from behind by one of the people at the gathering. He then tries to flee.

TV channels showed a suspected shooter, who looked to be in his 20s or 30s. He said he wanted to kill Khan and acted alone.

“He (Khan) was misleading the people, and I couldn’t bear it,” the suspect said in the video.

The information minister confirmed the footage was recorded by police.

No one has yet been charged with the attack.

Khan had been whipping up large crowds on his way to the capital Islamabad in a campaign to topple the government of rival, Shehbaz Sharif.

One member of Khan’s party said there were reports one person had been killed in the attack.

Khan aide Chaudhry wrote on Twitter: “It was a well-planned assassination attempt on Imran Khan, the assassin planned to kill Imran Khan and leadership of PTI, it was not 9 MM it was burst from automatic weapon, no two opinions about that it was narrow escape.”

Prime Minister Sharif condemned the shooting and ordered an immediate investigation.

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