Imran Khan accuses the Pakistani establishment of plotting to assassinate him

Islamabad, Pakistan

Tensions escalated in Pakistan on Friday as the former prime minister Imran Khan blamed establishment figures for a plot to kill him – a claim strenuously denied by government and security officials.

A day after he survived a shooting at a political rally outside the city of Gujranwala in Punjab province, Khan gave a rambling speech at a hospital in the city of Lahore where he was recovering from injuries he had sustained. As he sat in a wheelchair, the cricketer-turned-politician named three prominent figures as being behind the attack.

The former Pakistani leader suffered a broken right leg due to stray bullet wounds, Dr Faisal Sultan told reporters. Sultan showed x-rays showing Khan’s fractured right leg and bullet fragments lodged in both sides of his thigh.

Without providing evidence, Khan blamed Prime Minister Shabaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Major General Faisal, who is a senior intelligence official. CNN is reaching out to the three men for comment.

Khan first alleged on Thursday that the trio were responsible for the plot, in a statement shared by senior PTI official Asad Umar, who said he recently spoke to Khan.

In a televised address on Thursday, Sanaullah dismissed the accusation, calling it “serious”.

Pakistan’s intelligence agency also refuted Khan’s claims that a senior intelligence official was behind the shooting, with Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) telling CNN in a statement that the charges were ” unfounded”.

“This is an attempt to undermine the investigation from the start. The organization had already sensitized the federal government about the threat to the former prime minister, who communicated it to the provincial government of Punjab” , the statement said.

The ISI also said Khan’s security was under the authority of the Punjab provincial government, which is led by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

“The former prime minister’s security was the responsibility of the PTI-led government in Punjab province. The shooting incident is a security breach on the part of the Punjab government and cannot be attributed to no individual or any security agency. The need of the hour is for calm in the country and not for irresponsible statements,” the ISI said in a statement.

Khan had said he knew about the plot to kill him a day before it happened and claimed two gunmen were involved in his attack.

“There was a burst from one side, and another from the front. There were two people,” Khan said of the attack.

Khan has locked horns with the government since his dramatic eviction in a vote of no confidence in April. During this time, he repeatedly claimed, without any evidence, that the United States was behind his loss of power.

One person died in Thursday’s attack which injured several others and sparked protests among Khan’s supporters.

Video of the alleged attack shows Khan waving from an open-top truck, when gunfire rang out, sending his party members to safety.

A bullet hit Khan in the leg, said senior Pakistani Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) official Asad Umar, who later added: “Yes, he was shot, there are pellets in his leg. , his bone was chipped, he was also shot in the thigh.

A man suspected of shooting at the rally was arrested on Thursday, police said.

On Thursday, Pakistan’s Information Ministry released a video confession of an unnamed man it says carried out the attack.

Khan called on citizens to protest against the three officials he said planned his attack until they resigned.

“As long as these three men don’t resign, you must protest, against injustice, you must do jihad against them, jihad means opposing injustice,” Khan said on Friday.

Khan said as soon as he recovered from his shooting attack he would resume his so-called long march to Islamabad calling for a snap election. He was on the seventh day of the national tour, which started in Lahore on October 28 and was due to end in Islamabad after passing through several Pakistani cities.

It is one of many rallies the former Pakistani cricket captain has held since his ousting in April.

Thursday’s incident is not the first time Pakistani politicians have been attacked.

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007, and then-Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani survived an assassination attempt in 2008.

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