Islamabad, Pakistan Eureka News Now —
Pakistan’s ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan was shot in the leg at a rally on Thursday, a representative of his party said the incident was an assassination attempt.
A bullet hit Khan after a gunman opened fire, said Asad Umar, the senior leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who later added: “Yes, he was shot, there are bullets in his leg, his.” Bones were broken off, he was also shot in the thigh.”
The former Pakistani cricket captain was taken from the gathering place outside the city of Gujranwala for treatment in Lahore, which is about a two-and-a-half hour drive away. He is currently out of danger and in stable condition, Umar added.
Earlier, Senator Fawad Chaudhry, a senior PTI politician and former Khan Information Minister, said Khan was undergoing surgery and six others were injured and still being treated.
A man suspected of shooting at the rally was arrested on Thursday, police said, adding that the male suspect was arrested with a 9mm handgun and two empty magazines.
According to Faisal Javed, a senior PTI politician and a close ally of Khan, at least one person who sustained a head wound in the attack was killed in the incident. The victim’s name was not released.
In a video statement, Javed, who can be seen sitting upright during treatment, said: “Please pray for us, for Imran Khan, pray for our seriously injured colleagues and pray for our party member who has died and been martyred. ”
Khan was on the seventh day of a nationwide rally tour demanding that next August’s elections be brought forward.
Protests in support of Khan erupted across Pakistan, including in the capital Islamabad as well as in Peshawar, where about 800 protesters gathered, blocking roads for about two hours, holding party flags and chanting anti-army and anti-government slogans.
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.
Khan claims that Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz 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 spoke to Khan recently.
“I received information beforehand that this would happen,” Khan said, according to Umar. “These men must be removed from their posts, if they are not removed there will be protests.”
Sharif, who came to power after Khan lost a no-confidence vote in parliament in April, condemned Thursday’s attack on his political rival on Twitter.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the incident of shooting at PTI Chairman Imran Khan,” Sharif wrote, adding that he had asked for an “immediate report of the incident” and would pray for the recovery of those injured.
“Violence should have no place in the politics of our country,” Sharif wrote.
On October 21, Pakistan’s Electoral Commission (ECP) recommended banning Khan from political office for five years, a move likely to further fuel political tensions in the country.
Reading the recommendation, ECP chief Sikandar Sultan Raja stated that Khan was disqualified for engaging in “corrupt practices”.
The commission said its decision was based on the reasoning that Khan had “made false statements” in relation to explaining the sale of gifts sent to him by the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Dubai during his tenure – an offense committed under the Constitution of the country is illegal.
Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote following allegations of poor governance and economic mismanagement.
Since then, he has repeatedly claimed without evidence that the United States orchestrated his downfall. Khan’s accusations have become a staple at rallies he has held across Pakistan to return to power.
His claims have struck a chord with a young populace in a country where anti-American sentiment runs high and anti-establishment sentiments are fueled by a rising cost-of-living crisis.
This is not the first time 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.
On Thursday, the US condemned the attack on the former prime minister. “The United States condemns in the strongest terms 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 peaceful and to refrain from violence.”