Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan survived a political rally on Thursday in what his party called an assassination attempt that killed one person, injured many and sparked protests from Khan’s supporters.
Video of the alleged attack showed Khan waving from an open truck outside the town of Gujranwala in Punjab province as gunfire rang out and his party members took cover.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Assad Omar said a bullet hit Khan in the leg, adding later: “Yes, he was shot with a projectile in his leg. , his bones were shattered and he was shot in his thigh.”
Omar added that Khan was taken from the rally site to Lahore for treatment, a roughly two-and-a-half-hour drive, and is in stable condition.
A man suspected of shooting at the rally was detained on Thursday, according to police. Police said the suspect was arrested with a 9mm pistol and two empty magazines.
On Thursday, Pakistan’s Ministry of Information released a video showing a video of a confession from an unnamed man who allegedly carried out the attack.
In the video, the man said he “wanted to kill Imran Khan” because he “misled people”, adding that he had no accomplices.
“When prayers were called, they (Khan’s rally) were playing music and yelling from megaphones. I don’t like that happening in our land,” the man said in the video, which allegedly It’s about his intentions.
CNN was unable to verify the circumstances under which the video was shot, so it is not shown.
At least one person was killed in the incident, according to Faisal Javed, a senior PTI politician and close Khan ally, who suffered head injuries in the attack. The victim’s name has not been released.
In a video statement, Javid can be seen sitting up while being treated, saying: “Please pray for us, for Imran Khan, for our seriously injured colleagues, for our party members who have died and been martyred .”
Earlier on Thursday, Senator Fawad Chowdhury, a senior PTI politician and Khan’s former information minister, said Khan was undergoing surgery and six others were injured and were still receiving treatment.
“We want to know who was behind the incident, who trained the accused, what was the boy’s preparation, how much money he got and where did he get it,” Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry said. Pervaiz Elahi, tweeted.
Khan is on the seventh day of his national tour, during which he held a rally calling for snap elections by next August. The so-called “Long March” kicked off in Lahore on October 28 and was due to end in Islamabad after passing through several Pakistani cities.
It was one of many rallies the former Pakistani cricketer has held since his dramatic ouster in a no-confidence vote in April. During that time, he has repeatedly claimed, without any evidence, that the United States was behind his loss of power.
His remarks resonated with young people in a country where anti-American sentiment is running high and the rising cost of living fuels anti-establishment sentiment.
Protests erupted across Pakistan on Thursday after the shooting Support for Khan, including in Islamabad and Peshawar, where some 800 protesters gathered. Holding party flags and chanting slogans against the army and the federal government, they blocked roads for about two hours.
Video shows rally where Imran Khan was shot
Several PTI politicians addressed the crowd, including provincial assembly member Fazal Elahi, who said the attack was part of a conspiracy against PTI leadership.
“Today we had a peaceful protest, and it will continue in the future,” Errahi said.
Thursday’s shooting could further escalate already tense tensions between Khan and Pakistani Prime Minister Sheikh Baz Sharif, who led the campaign to remove him from office.
Khan claimed Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanura and senior intelligence officer Major General Faisal Nasir were behind Thursday’s attack.
Khan made the allegations in a statement shared by senior PTI leader Umar, who said he had spoken to Khan recently.
“I was given information in advance that this was going to happen,” Khan said, according to Omar. “These people need to be removed, and if they don’t, there will be protests.”
Sanura called Khan’s allegations “serious” in a televised address on Thursday.
“Imran Khan accused me, the prime minister and a senior official. It was such a serious statement,” Sanura said. “This happened in a province ruled by Imran Khan’s party,” he said.
“I applaud the PTI staff who caught the man who tried to shoot Imran Khan. I applaud the police and those who stopped the attacker. There was an atmosphere where all political etiquette was ignored.”
However, Sharif took to Twitter to condemn Thursday’s attack on his political opponent.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the shooting of PTI chairman Imran Khan,” Sharif wrote, adding that he had asked for an “immediate report of this incident” and would pray for the recovery of the wounded.
“Violence should not have a place in our country’s politics,” Sharif wrote.
On October 21, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) recommended that Khan should be disqualified from political office for five years, a move that is likely to increase political tensions in the country.
In reading the recommendation, ECP chairman Sikandar Sultan Raja said Khan had been disqualified for engaging in “corrupt practices”.
The committee said its decision was based on Khan “making false statements” in announcing the sale of gifts given to him by the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Dubai during his tenure in office – an illegal offence under the country’s constitution.
This is not the first time a Pakistani politician has been attacked.
Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on 27 December 2007, and then Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani survived an assassination attempt in 2008.
On Thursday, the United States condemned the attack on the former prime minister. “The United States strongly condemns the attack on Imran Khan and his supporters, and wishes a speedy recovery for all injured. Violence has no place in politics,” White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said on an Air Force flight to New Mexico told reporters on the 1st.
“We call on all parties to remain peaceful and avoid violence.”
Correction: A previous version of this story included an old photo of Imran Khan that was misdistributed by The Associated Press. It has been removed.