Shooting of former Pakistani PM Imran Khan attracts worldwide condemnation
Image by NDTV Files
Former prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan was shot in the leg in an assassination attempt that took place during his protest march in the eastern city of Wazirabad, Pakistan.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Fawad Chaudhry has vowed revenge after the incident, saying, “An attack on Imran Khan is an attack on Pakistan. We will take revenge for this.”
Chaudhry also asked the crowd of supporters, “Will you take revenge for our bleeding leader?” The crowd was then heard shouting back, “Yes.”
The Indian government has said that it is closely monitoring the situation in Pakistan. Federal ministry of external affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We are closely monitoring developments and keeping a close eye”.
Khan, 70, was leading a march towards the capital city of Islamabad, demanding snap elections after being ousted from the position in April this year.
Reports have stated that others who were attending the march were also injured and Khan was immediately taken to a hospital in Lahore.
The police were able to arrest a man believed to be the shooter and released a confession video.
It is unclear if the man was coerced by the police to give a confession or not, but in the video the man is interrogated by the police who asked about his intention behind shooting Khan. He is heard saying, “He was misguiding the people. I wanted to kill him. I tried to kill him.”
A video footage taken at the time of the incident shows Khan and his supporters riding on top of a shipping container towed by a lorry before the loud sound of gunfire is heard. The leader is seen ducking while his supporters try to shield him.
Pakistan’s current prime minister Shehbaz Sharif came forward to offer support to Khan and condemned the attack.
“I have directed [the] interior minister for an immediate report on the incident. I pray for the recovery and health of [the] PTI chairman and other injured people.
“Federal government will extend all support necessary to Punjab govt for security & investigation. Violence should have no place in our country’s politics,” he wrote on Twitter.
Khan was later seen waving at the crowd following the shooting. Two other members of Khan’s party – Faisal Javed and Ahmed Chattha – were also injured in the attack.
The attack has attracted worldwide condemnation with several prominent figures calling it ‘unacceptable’.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “The attack on Imran Khan and his supporters is completely unacceptable, and I strongly condemn this violence.
“It has no place in politics, in any democracy or in our society. I’m wishing a speedy recovery to Imran and all who were injured today.”
Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai said, “Attacks on leaders of any political belief or party are always wrong.”
Pakistan’s cricket team captain, Babar Azam said, “May Allah keep [captain] safe and protect our beloved Pakistan.”
Many in the UK expressed their shock and support for Khan after the attack.
British boxing champion Amir Khan also posted a picture of him with the PTI leader and wrote: “May Allah SWT protect Pakistan, Ameen
I pray for the health and speedy recovery of all injured people. And specially Imran Khan.”
London-based Journalist Ihtisham Ul Haq wrote: “This was an attempt to assassin Imran Khan.”
The prominent leader has a long-standing relationship with the UK as he received his education at the Royal Grammar School in Worcester, England and later went to Keble College, University of Oxford. He was also previously married to British Pakistani journalist and filmmaker Reham Khan and British screenwriter and producer Jemima Goldsmith.
He has been actively challenging Shehbaz Sharif’s government since being ousted in April after a vote of no confidence against him was conducted, making him the first prime minister of Pakistan to be removed from office by this method. Several protests across the country erupted, creating political unrest which is still very apparent in the country.