4 Nov 2022

Imran Khan: Pakistan ex-prime minister wounded at protest march

6:48 am on 4 November 2022
Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan addresses his supporters during an anti-government march towards capital Islamabad, demanding early elections, in Gujranwala on 1 November 2022.

File photo. Imran Khan addressing his supporters in Gujranwala on Tuesday during an anti-government march towards the capital Islamabad, demanding early elections. Photo: AFP / Arif Ali

Pakistan's ousted prime minister Imran Khan has survived a gun attack on his convoy while holding a protest march in the eastern city of Wazirabad.

He was injured in the leg and four other people were also hurt when a burst of gunfire hit their platform, a container towed by a lorry.

There was no immediate official comment on the motive for the attack which allies say was an assassination bid.

The protest march had been called to demand early elections.

Khan, 70, was leading the march, which was meant to end in the capital Islamabad.

The former prime minister was seen being taken to a hospital in Lahore. A party spokesman said he had been hit in the shin.

An official from his PTI party, provincial health minister Yasmeen Rashid, said Mr Khan was in a stable condition.

Supporters of Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan take part in a protest against the assassination attempt on Khan, outside the hospital where Khan is admitted, in Lahore on 3 November 2022.

Supporters of Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan outside the hospital in Lahore where he was admitted after being wounded in a shooting on 3 November 2022. Photo: AFP / Arif Ali

Police released a video confession of a man they arrested who they say had attempted to kill the former prime minister.

It is unclear under what conditions the interview was carried out but in it the man is asked by police why he opened fire, and replies: "He was misguiding the people. I wanted to kill him. I tried to kill him."

Video footage from the scene shows Khan and his supporters riding on top of the shipping container before a burst of gunfire is heard. Khan is then seen ducking, as those around him try to cover him.

Another video shows a conscious Khan with a bandage on his right leg being taken away in a vehicle after the shooting.

A PTI member is also seen with a bandage on his face and blood on his clothing, saying that people should pray for Khan and all those injured.

"This was an attempt to kill him, to assassinate him," Khan's senior aide Raoof Hasan told AFP news agency.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the shooting and ordered an immediate investigation. President Arif Alvi said the incident was a "heinous assassination attempt".

Khan has been leading a protest march - the second such rally this year - for the past seven days, calling for new elections.

The government has repeatedly said it will hold elections next year, as planned.

Last month, Pakistan's election commission disqualified Khan from holding public office in a case described by the former star cricketer as politically motivated.

He had been accused of incorrectly declaring details of gifts from foreign dignitaries and proceeds from their alleged sale. The gifts included Rolex watches, a ring and a pair of cuff links.

Pakistan has a long history of deadly political violence.

In the most high-profile case, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated at a public rally in 2007.


Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs