Imran Khan blames Pakistan establishment for plot to assassinate him


Islamabad, Pakistan
CNN

Tensions rose in Pakistan on Friday after former Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed establishment figures for a plot to assassinate him – a claim strongly denied by governing and security officials.

A day after he escaped being shot at a political rally outside the city of Gujranwala in Punjab province, Khan gave a rousing speech at a hospital in the city of Lahore where he was recuperating from his injuries. Seated in a wheelchair, the cricket star-turned-politician cited three senior figures behind the attack.

Dr. Faisal Sultan told reporters that the former leader of Pakistan suffered a fracture in his right leg due to injuries from stray bullets. Sultan showed X-rays that showed a fracture in Khan’s right leg and bullet fragments lodged in both sides of his thigh.

Without presenting evidence, Khan blamed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Major General Faisal, a senior intelligence official. CNN is reaching out to all three men for comment.

Khan first alleged on Thursday that the three were responsible for the plot, in a statement by senior PTI leader Asad Umar, who said he had spoken to Khan recently.

In a televised address on Thursday, Sanaullah rejected the allegation, calling it “regrettable”.

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The Pakistani military’s media wing on Friday condemned Khan’s claims, calling them “baseless and irresponsible allegations” and threatened legal action.

“No one will be allowed to disrespect this institution or its soldiers. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that in view of this, the Government of Pakistan has been requested to take up the matter. investigate and initiate legal action against those who make defamatory and false allegations against the institution and its officials without any evidence.

Pakistan’s intelligence agency also denied Khan’s claims that a senior intelligence official was behind the shooting, with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) telling CNN in a statement that the allegations were “baseless.” basis”.

“This is an attempt to bias the investigation from the beginning. The organization had already informed the federal government about the threat to the former prime minister, which in turn had informed the provincial government of Punjab.

Former Pakistani leader Imran Khan is pictured at a rally earlier this week.

The ISI also said that Khan’s security was under the control of the Punjab provincial government, which is led by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

“The incident of firing is a security lapse on the part of the Punjab government and cannot be attributed to any individual or any security agency. The need of the hour is for peace in the country and not irresponsible statements,” the ISI said in a statement. of the.

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Khan said he knew about the plot to kill him the day before, and claimed that two shooters were involved in the attack.

“One was exploding from the side and another was coming from the front. There were two people,” Khan said of the attack.

Khan has locked horns with the government since his dramatic ouster in a no-confidence vote in April. Meanwhile, he repeatedly claimed, without any evidence, that the United States was behind his ouster.

Thursday’s attack killed one person, injured several others and sparked protests among Khan’s supporters.

Video of the alleged attack shows Khan waving from an open truck as gunshots rang out, sending members of his party ducking for cover.

A bullet hit Khan in the leg, said senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Umar, who later added: “Yes, he’s been shot, he’s got pellets in his leg, his bone. has been shot, he is also shot in the thigh.”

A man who opened fire at the rally on Thursday was taken into custody, according to police.

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On Thursday, Pakistan’s Ministry of Information released a video of the confession of an unidentified person claiming to have carried out the attack.

Khan called on citizens to protest against the three officials whom he accused of planning their attack until they resigned.

“Until these three men resign, you have to protest, against injustice, you have to wage jihad against them, jihad means standing against injustice,” Khan said on Friday.

Khan said that as soon as he recovers from his shooting attack, he will resume his so-called long march to Islamabad demanding early elections. He was on the seventh day of a nationwide tour, which started from Lahore on October 28 and was scheduled to end in Islamabad after visiting several cities in Pakistan.

It is one of several rallies the former Pakistan cricket captain has held since his sacking in April.

Thursday’s incident is not the first time Pakistani politicians have been attacked.

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on 27 December 2007 and then Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in 2008.

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