ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan said he was pausing his march on the capital, Islamabad, a day a gunman opened fire on his campaign convoy, wounding him and killing one of his supporters. Thirteen other people were also hurt in the attack.
Khan spoke to reporters late on Friday – his first public remarks since the shooting – and pledged that he will resume his protest once he has recovered from the bullet wound.
The bullet hit him in the right leg, above the ankle.
Khan’s protest march and rallies, which started last Friday, were peaceful until Thursday’s attack in Wazirabad, a district in eastern Punjab province.
The shooting has raised concerns about growing political instability in Pakistan, which has a history of political violence and assassinations.
“As soon as I recover, I have decided that I will be back on the streets and (I) will issue the call for a (march on) Islamabad,” Khan said, adding that he knew he could be targetted in an attack.
Sitting in a wheelchair, his right leg bandaged and elevated on a stool, Khan spoke from the Shaukat Khanum hospital, where he had surgery on Thursday night. TV cameras carried his remarks live.
Khan accused Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan and army General Faisal Naseer working for the Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency of orchestrating the shooting. The minister and the former premier are not related.
Khan offered no evidence for his allegations, which were rejected by Sharif’s government and dismissed as a “pack of lies” by Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb. The spy agency said there was absolutely no truth to Khan’s allegations. The military said it has requested legal action against those defaming the army and senior officers with “baseless allegations” devoid of any evidence.
The government said it has ordered a high-level probe. The shooter, who was arrested at the scene of the attack, was still being questioned on Friday, police said. On Thursday, local police officials released a video showing the man who said in the footage that he carried out the shooting and acted alone.