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Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan shot in the leg in 'clear assassination attempt'

Imran Khan was injured when his protest convoy came under attack in the eastern city of Wazirabad.

Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan shot in the leg in 'clear assassination attempt'

Supporters of Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan make their way through Gujranwala en route to the capital Islamabad. (Photo: AFP/Arif Ali)

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan was shot in the leg on Thursday (Nov 3) when his anti-government protest convoy came under attack in the eastern city of Wazirabad in what his aides said was a clear assassination attempt.

Khan, 70, ousted as prime minister in April, was 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 200km from Islamabad, and Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said a suspect had been arrested.

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

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

A man suspected of attacking Khan has been shot dead, Raoof Hasan, a senior Khan aide told AFP.

"A second man was taken into police custody," he said, adding that it was unclear who shot the first attacker.

According to AP, the identity of the gunman who was arrested at the scene was not immediately known and no group has claimed responsibility for the shooting.

In this image released by former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Khan is seen after he was injured in a shooting incident in Wazirabad on Nov 3, 2022. (Image: AP/PTI)

Khan was travelling in a large convoy of trucks and cars heading towards Islamabad as part of a protest march aimed at forcing the government to hold early elections.

There were hundreds of people in the convoy.

"A man opened fire with an automatic weapon. Several people are wounded," party official Asad Umar told Reuters.

Khan was taken to hospital in Lahore after the attack.

In a statement, the military called the shooting "highly condemnable". Khan had accused the military of backing the plan to oust him from power. Last week, the military held an unprecedented press conference to deny the claims.

"I heard a burst of bullet shots after which I saw Imran Khan and his aides fall down on the truck," witness Qazzafi Butt told Reuters.

"Later, a gunman shot a single shot but was grabbed by an activist of Khan's party."

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 twenties or thirties. He said he wanted to kill Khan and had acted alone.

"(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 had yet been charged with 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."


Since his removal from office in a no-confidence vote in parliament in April, Khan has alleged that his ouster was a conspiracy engineered by his successor, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and the United States - claims that both the new prime minister and Washington have denied.

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

Local media showed footage of Khan waving to the crowd after being evacuated from his vehicle amid people running and shouting after the shooting.

Following the shooting, protesters poured out on to streets in some parts of the country and PTI leaders demanded justice.

PTI colleague Faisal Javed, who was also wounded and had blood stains on his clothes, told Geo TV from the hospital: "Several of our colleagues are wounded. We heard that one of them is dead."

Since being ousted, Khan has held rallies across Pakistan, stirring opposition against a government that is struggling to bring the economy out of the crisis that Khan's administration left it in.

Khan had planned to lead the motorised caravan slowly northwards up the Grand Trunk Road to Islamabad, drawing more support along the way before entering the capital.

"I want that all of you participate. This is not for politics or personal gain, or to topple the government ... this is to bring genuine freedom to the country," Khan said in a video message on the eve of the march.

Pakistan has a long history of political violence. Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December 2007 in a gun and bomb attack after holding an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi, next to Islamabad.

Her father and former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged in the same city in 1979 after being deposed by a military coup.

Source: Agencies/kg/ic


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