Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan stable after 'assassination attempt'

AP , Thursday 3 Nov 2022

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was in stable condition after being shot in the foot Thursday at a political rally in what the country's president deemed "a heinous assassination attempt".

imran Khan
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during a news conference in Islamabad on April 23, 2022. AP

 

Khan has been leading a march since Friday from the city of Lahore towards the capital, Islamabad, campaigning for fresh elections after being ousted from office in April.

Khan was wounded when shots were fired from the crowd near Gujranwala, his senior aide, Raoof Hasan, told AFP.

"This was an attempt to kill him, to assassinate him," Hasan said, adding that one alleged attacker had been shot dead and a second taken into police custody.

In a tweet, Pakistan's President Arif Alvi also called it "a heinous assassination attempt".

"I thank Allah that he is safe but injured with few bullets in his leg & hopefully non-critical," he tweeted.

Pakistan has been grappling with Islamist militants for decades, and politicians are frequently targeted by assassination attempts.

In 2007 the nation's first female leader Benazir Bhutto was slain in a suicide attack which still remains unsolved.

Each day during his so-called "long march" 70 year-old Khan has mounted a shipping container towed by a lorry, making speeches from the open top to crowds of thousands in cities and towns along the way.

'Die for the country'

The former international cricket star was booted from office in April by a no-confidence vote after defections by some of his coalition partners, but he retains mass public support in the South Asian country.

Khan was voted into power in 2018 on an anti-corruption platform by an electorate tired of dynastic politics.

But his mishandling of the economy -- and falling out with a military accused of helping his rise -- sealed his fate.

Since then, he has railed against the establishment and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's government, which he says was imposed on Pakistan by a "conspiracy" involving the United States.

Khan has repeatedly told supporters he was prepared to die for the country, and aides have long warned of unspecified threats made on his life.

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