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English

Imran Khan breaks silence over assassination bid: ‘I was hit by 4 bullets’

Imran Khan, former Pakistani prime minister, on Friday claimed that four bullets hit his legs during an assassination attempt while he was standing atop a container during his long march in Wazirabad on Thursday. Khan said he had learned about the looming danger beforehand.

“I had already learned that there was a plan in place to kill me somewhere between Wazirabad and Gujrat,” Khan said as he spoke during a televised address while still being admitted at the Shaukat Khanum Hospital in Lahore where he is receiving treatment for his injuries. Dr Faisal Sultan, who is treating the cricketer-turned-politician, said x-rays of Khan’s right leg showed that his tibia was damaged and in fact fractured.

“In this scan, the line you see on the right leg is the main artery. The bullet fragments were very near it,” Sultan said. Khan suffered a bullet injury on the right leg when a gun-wielding man fired a volley of bullets at him and others mounting on a container-mounted truck in the Wazirabad area of Punjab province, where he was leading a protest march against the Shehbaz Sharif government.

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Khan was seated in a wheelchair with his right leg elevated and bandaged. He repeated several allegations against the government and the military leadership. Soon after Khan was shot at, police fired teargas on protesters to disperse crowds in Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi after they blocked roads. TV footage showed police dragging some of the demonstrators into vehicles.

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Khan’s supporters who came out to protest after a call by the political party also tried to enter the governor’s house in Lahore. Outrage at what looks to many as an assassination attempt is likely to galvanize support for the former prime minister – and may foment unrest that makes governing even more difficult in the debt-ridden country, which has also been devastated by floods, Bloomberg Economics’ Ankur Shukla said.

The ruling party may now find it nearly impossible to implement unpopular tax hikes and budget cuts required by the International Monetary Fund for a bailout. Defence minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said the shooting incident is being used by Khan toachieve political gains. Video clips of Khan supporters protesting near a military commander’s house in Peshawar and vandalising a military tank have surfaced on social media.

Khan has named Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, interior minister Rana Sanuallah and major general Faisal Naseer, a director general of powerful Inter-Service Intelligence, as among those responsible for the attack, senior PTI leader Asad Umar said in a video message after meeting the former cricket star.The “assassination attempt on Imran Khan is an attack on Pakistan,” tweet.

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