Imran Khan Shot At Rally In Pakistan, Shooter Confesses On Camera


Former PM Imran Khan minutes before the attack at Wazirabad in Gujranwala district.

Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan was rushed to a Lahore hospital after he was wounded in firing during his rally at Wazirabad in Pakistan’s Punjab. One of his supporters was feared dead in what his party called an “assassination attempt” on the former cricketer during his ongoing Lahore-to-Islamabad march against the army establishment-backed central government.

His right leg bandaged, Mr Khan was seen waving as he was shifted into an SUV — an early indication that the injury wasn’t critical. He was later reported “out of danger”. 

The attack brought back chilling memories of how another former PM, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated during a rally in 2007.

Videos showed a man, who was overpowered and arrested, firing pistol shots from below at Imran Khan as he stood atop a container-truck, which serves as the centrepiece of his ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’ (True Freedom) March against the Shehbaz Sharif government.

Attacker Says ‘Wanted To Kill’  

The attacker, a young man, later told the police that he was “not backed by anyone” and wanted to kill Imran Khan out of anger at “how he’s been misleading the people”. 

There were reports of another shooter, with an AK-47 rifle, at the spot, but these could not be verified.

At least four of Imran Khan’s party leaders were among those injured, one of whom, parliamentarian Faisal Javed Khan, later said a supporter was “martyred”.

Imran Khan was taken to Lahore’s Shaukat Khanam Hospital, 100 km away, that he’d got built in his mother’s memory in the 1990s.

The attack in Gujranwala district, about 200 km from Islamabad, comes just seven months after he was unseated upon losing the defence establishment’s confidence. He has since been campaigning against the army and intelligence agency ISI’s “interference” that “has undermined democracy by installing a puppet government”.

What PM Sharif Said

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the firing and directed Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to seek an immediate report from the police and administration.

Barely an hour before the firing, Imran Khan had told supporters in another part of the town, where he was scheduled to deliver a speech, that they should accompany him to a different area instead, promising to speak there, Geo reported. His party tweeted a video showing him boarding the container-truck from his black SUV.

The firing took place minutes later as he got to the roof for his speech. The gunman fired from a pistol from the left side of where Imran Khan was standing; he could not get close enough for a clear shot in a tight crowd, reports said.

Having been unseated in April, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader has been demanding resignation of the new central government formed by his two main opponents that are otherwise rivals of each other, the Sharifs’ Muslim League (PML-N) and the Bhuttos’ Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of the PPP, whose mother Benazir was killed in a similar attack, tweeted: “Strongly condemn the attack on Imran Khan. Praying for his swift recovery.”

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