Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan is in stable condition after he was shot and wounded during a protest march, a senior leader of his party has said.
r Khan’s protest march and rallies were peaceful until Thursday afternoon’s attack, raising concerns about growing political instability in Pakistan, a country with a history of political violence and assassinations.
The attack killed one of Mr Khan’s supporters and injured 13 others, including two MPs.
“There is no doubt about that,” said Fawad Chaudhry, a senior leader of Mr Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
“We are convinced that the assassination of Pakistan’s most popular leader, Imran Khan, who is now in a stable condition after undergoing surgery at Shaukat Khanum Hospital in Lahore, was a well-planned assassination.”
He said the party leadership will meet in Lahore later on Friday.
“We will announce today exactly when our march will resume from Wazirabad,” Mr Chaudhry told The Associated Press.
He gave no further details, but Mr Khan’s party issued a brief statement urging supporters to hold nationwide rallies to condemn the shooting.
Asad Umar, a senior figure in Mr Khan’s party, blamed the shooting on Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the country’s interior minister, and an army general, without providing any evidence.
The government called the accusation unfounded and said it had ordered a high-level inquiry and the alleged attacker would be questioned.
Police are still questioning the alleged attacker, who showed in video that he carried out the shooting and acted alone.
The attack came as the former cricket star-turned-politician was heading towards Islamabad in a large protest convoy of trucks and cars.
Video footage shows him and his team crouching for cover atop a vehicle as gunfire rang out.
Mr Khan, 70, should be able to go home soon, according to Faisal Sultan, who heads the medical team that treated him.
He told reporters Thursday that Mr Khan’s operation lasted two hours and he sustained a gunshot wound in his right leg.
Mr Khan alleges that his ousting from Parliament in April was unlawful and a conspiracy by his political opponents orchestrated by the United States, a claim denied by both Washington and Mr Sharif.
Mr Khan wants the government to announce snap elections.
He led the Lahore protest that began last Friday alongside thousands of supporters and said his protest will continue until his demands are accepted.
Pakistan says elections will be held as scheduled in 2023.
Mr Khan’s supporters rallied in different parts of the country overnight after the shooting.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/pakistans-ex-pm-imran-khan-stable-after-shooting-42118300.html Pakistan’s ex-PM Imran Khan stable after shooting