Pakistan’s Imran Khan Shot in Leg, Survives Possible Assassination Attempt

Initial reports say a gunman opened fire at Khan during his popular long march to the country’s capital.
Pallavi Pundir
Jakarta, ID
Imran Khan, PTI, Pakistan
Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan addresses his supporters during an anti-government march towards capital Islamabad. Photo: Arif Ali / AFP

Former Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan was shot and injured in what members of his party have called a possible assassination attempt. 

The bullet wounded Khan in his leg, said an official with his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). After being shot, Khan could be seen walking with assistance and waving to his supporters before he was taken to the hospital.

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Initial reports say a gunman opened fire on a container truck that Khan was canvassing on during a rally in the city of Wazirabad, about 170 kilometres south of Islamabad, the capital. Four other PTI members were also shot. 

Khan has been leading a massive convoy across the country to demand snap elections from the current ruling party, which came to power after the parliament ousted Khan in a no-confidence vote in April. But the former prime minister remains the country’s most popular political leader, especially among young urban voters. 

One video shared by a journalist shows a gunman being taken away by the police while being beaten up by Khan’s supporters. 

Another video, shared by ARY News, showed Khan being lifted and carried into a car. Khan had claimed in May he was the target of an assassination plot, and had demanded the present prime minister, Shehbaz Sharif, to enhance security measures for him.

Zarqa Taimur, Pakistani senator from PTI, told VICE World News that Khan was standing on top of a container when a man in the crowd started shooting at him. The shooter, she added, wanted to aim higher but was stopped by a Khan supporter next to him.

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In the lead up to the march, the government said it received intelligence reports that armed gangs would attack the rally. But Khan carried on and promised the protest would remain in areas designated by authorities. 

“Attack on Imran Khan and other leaders was clearly intended to assassinate him, after threats were made public,” said Pakistani rights activist and columnist Usama Khilji in a tweet. “Is this how a democracy copes with political opposition? This will only make Imran Khan more popular, get him sympathies from those politically opposed to him.”

Pakistan has a long history of assassinations of its political leaders. In 2007, a suicide bomber fatally shot former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto at a rally before killing 23 people and himself. Pakistan’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was also assassinated in 1951. 

This story is developing.