Imran accuses Pak PM Sharif, 2 others of conspiring attack
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan blamed three top persons in the country for what is being assumed as an 'assassination attempt' on him during a rally on Thursday. Khan survived the attack in which one person was killed while seven others received injuries. One person accused of the attack was immediately nabbed and an investigation was initiated.
Why does this story matter?
- Khan who was removed from the premier post in politically unstable Pakistan in April this year has been mobilizing people in his support as he calls the current government "illegal."
- A strong critic of the current government, Khan has been pushing for early elections in the country.
- The incident flashed memories of a 2007 rally in which ex-PM Benazir Bhutto was shot dead.
What happened in the rally?
Last week, Khan started a 'long march' toward the capital city Islamabad against the ruling coalition, aimed at heaping pressure on it. On Thursday, Khan was addressing a rally from a container truck in Pakistan's Gujranwala Punjab province when an attack on him was carried out. He received injuries in his leg and was evacuated to a hospital along with seven others injured.
'The three, accused of attack'
PTI leader Asad Umar said that Khan believes that Pakistan's current PM Shehbaz Sharif, Interior minister Rana Sanaullah and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Major General Faisal Naseer conspired the attack on him. As per the PTI general secretary Umar, Khan has demanded these three be immediately removed from their posts. He said if the demand is not fulfilled, there may be countrywide protests.
Asad Umar shares more details of the incident
Pakistan witnesses protests against the 'assassination attempt'
ضلع خیبر:: عمران خان پر بزدلانہ قاتلانہ حملے کے خلاف تحریک انصاف کے کارکنان نے ایم این اے اقبال آفریدی اور ایم پی اے شفیق آفریدی کی قیادت میں باڑہ خیبر چوک پر احتجاجی مظاہرہ— Tehreek-e-Insaf (@InsafPK) November 4, 2022
قائد عمران خان پر حملہ پاکستان پر حملہ ہے، اس کا حساب لیا جائے گا۔#عمران_خان_ہماری_ریڈ_لاین_ہے pic.twitter.com/O9OsAaH8is
I conspired attack myself: Accused
The accused who was caught in visuals of the rally brandishing a pistol while carrying out the attack said that he "carried the attack on his own," as per a video released from a police station. He said that he carried out the attack and wanted to kill Khan only, as he felt he was "misleading the people of Pakistan through his rallies."
'My conscience did not approve of this'
The attacker said that "there was Azaan going on and Khan was making noise, that my conscience did not approve and decided to kill him." "I conspired the attack since he [Khan] returned from Lahore and I came alone here on the bike to attack him," the accused said. Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister has suspended police officers accused of leaking the attacker's statement.
'Statement of the attacker'
Pakistan PM seeks report; incident sparks condemnation
Pakistan's Interior Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb has asked police to "record crime scene and seal Khan's container for further investigation." PM Sharif has "directed the minister to get a report from the Punjab Chief Secretary and IGP." The incident sparked wide condemnation from different quarters within the country as well as from others.
Violence has no space: US flays attack
United States (US) has strongly flayed the bid on Khan's life. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a tweet, while sharing sympathy with the killed and injured, said, "The U.S. strongly condemns the shooting of Imran Khan at a political rally." He urged all parties to "remain peaceful" saying that "violence has no place in politics."
'A long list of assassinations'
Pakistan has a long list of assassinations of politicians in the country. Wikipedia has put 45 names in the category of "Assassinated Pakistani politicians" that includes ex-PM Benazir Bhutto. Pakistan Peoples Party leader Bhutto, a two-time Prime Minister of the country, was killed on 27 December 2007 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan when she was campaigning as an opposition leader ahead of the 2008 elections.