ISLAMABAD (AP) – Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan is in a stable condition after being shot and wounded during a protest march, a senior leader from his party said yesterday.
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.
One of Khan’s supporters was killed and 13 others, including two lawmakers, were wounded in the attack.
“There is no doubt about it,” said a senior leader from Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party Fawad Chaudhry. “We are convinced that it was a well-planned assassination attempt on Pakistan’s most popular leader Imran Khan, who is now in stable condition at the Shaukat Khanum hospital in Lahore after undergoing surgery there.”
He said the party leadership was meeting in Lahore.
“We will announce today exactly when our march will resume from Wazirabad,” Chaudhry told The Associated Press. He provided no further details, but Khan’s party in a brief statement urged supporters to hold nationwide rallies to condemn the shooting.
A senior figure from Khan’s party Asad Umar blamed the shooting on Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the country’s Interior Minister, and an army general without offering any evidence.
The government called the allegation baseless, saying it has ordered a high-level probe and that the attacker is being questioned.
Police are still questioning the alleged attacker, who is shown in a video saying he carried out the shooting and acted alone.
Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif yesterday said the Punjab government suspended the police officials who released the video to the media.
The attack took place as the former cricket star-turned-politician was travelling in a large protest convoy of trucks and cars toward Islamabad. Video footage shows him and his team ducking for cover on top of a vehicle as gunfire rings out.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said some political elements from Khan’s party were trying to create chaos in the country following the attack.