Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan has been shot in the leg in what his supporters say was an assassination attempt.
A gunman opened fire while Mr Khan, 70, was giving a speech to supporters at a rally in Wazirabad in Punjab province, officials said, wounding him and some of his supporters.
Khan, who had been leading a protest march to the capital, Islamabad, demanding snap elections, was taken to a hospital in Lahore.
The identity of the gunman, who was arrested by police at the scene, was not immediately clear. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Video showing attempted assassination of Imran khan Man suspected of shooting Khan has been arrested. #imrankhan pic.twitter.com/u0ZUA26Y0u— Labour Heartlands (@Labourheartland) November 3, 2022
Footage on local media showed Khan with a bandaged leg moving from his truck to another vehicle with the help of his security team.
Imran Khan was shot in the leg but was stable while being taken to hospital. He waived at supporters too. #عمران_خان_ہماری_ریڈ_لائن_ہے pic.twitter.com/XizoAQzPax— PTI (@PTIofficial) November 3, 2022
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif issued a statement condemning the incident and asked authorities to immediately launch an investigation.
His government was removed in April this year through a parliamentary vote of no confidence. Since then, Khan has been holding rallies across the country, demanding early elections.
No prime minister has ever served a full term in Pakistan, but Khan is the first to lose office via a vote of no-confidence — a defeat he has not taken well.
Despite efforts to stay in power after losing his majority in parliament — including dissolving the assembly and calling a fresh election.
But the Supreme Court deemed all his actions illegal and ordered them to reconvene and vote.
Khan insists he has been the victim of a “regime change” conspiracy involving Washington, and has vowed to take his fight to the streets in the hope of forcing an early election.
Khan has claimed that his independent foreign policy has annoyed ‘foreign powers’ and they have financed the opposition’s no-trust move against him.
In an address to the nation on Friday, the prime minister reiterated his allegations that a senior US diplomat threatened a regime change in Pakistan.
Khan also tweeted: “Thank you to all Pakistanis for their amazing outpouring of support & emotions to protest against US-backed regime change abetted by local Mir Jafars to bring into power a coterie of pliable crooks all out on bail. Shows Pakistanis at home & abroad have emphatically rejected this”.
The news site, ‘Foreign Policy,’ noted in its latest report on Pakistan that “the future of Islamabad’s fragile relationship with Washington remains foggy after Prime Minister Khan levelled serious allegations against the United States, making it a central part of their political crisis”.
The report, however, argued that Mr Khan’s description of the alleged US involvement sounded more like “a US official complaining about the Pakistani prime minister, not plotting his ousting”.
The Washington-based news site noted that in Pakistan, public mistrust of the United States “runs deep, in great part because there is a history of US meddling in Pakistan’s internal politics”.
The report warned that Khan’s allegations “have hurt US-Pakistan relations, especially after Khan publicly named the US official” involved in the so-called plot.
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