Pakistan's Former Leader Shot in Assassination Attempt

Imran Khan reportedly shot in leg as bullets fly at campaign truck
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 3, 2022 9:00 AM CDT
Pakistan's Former Leader Shot in Assassination Attempt
Supporters of Pakistan's main opposition 'Tehreek-e-Insaf party' listen the speech of their leader Imran Khan at a rally in Lahore, Pakistan, Saturday, Oct. 29 2022.   (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

At least one gunman opened fire at a campaign truck carrying Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday, wounding him slightly and also some of his supporters, according to a senior leader from his party and police, per the AP. Party official Asad Umar said Khan was wounded in the leg and was not seriously hurt. Pakistan's President Arif Alvi said he was "injured with few bullets in his leg" in a "heinous assassination attempt," per NDTV. The outlet reports a video shows one of two arrested suspects claiming he "came to kill Imran Khan because he was misleading people." The former prime minister is now being treated at a hospital in Lahore.

According to police, the attack happened in the Wazirabad district in the eastern Punjab province where Khan was traveling in a large convoy of trucks and cars heading toward the capital, Islamabad, as part of his campaign aimed at forcing the government to hold early elections. The shooting underscored the growing political instability in Pakistan, with both the government and Khan—a former cricket star turned Islamist politician—refusing to back down from their positions. Khan has alleged that his ouster in a no-confidence vote in Parliament in April was a conspiracy engineered by his successor, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, and the US—claims that both the new premier and Washington have denied.

Sharif's government has also said that there would be no early vote and that the next elections will be held according to schedule, in 2023. Pakistan's elections commission disqualified Khan from holding public office for five years for allegedly selling state gifts unlawfully and concealing assets as premier. Khan has challenged the disqualification in a pending court case and said he would sue Chief Election Commissioner Sikandara Raja. The attack happened less than a week after Khan began his march from Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, along with thousands of supporters from his Tehreek-e-Insaf party. An unspecified number of supporters who were part of the march were also wounded, the party said. (More Imran Khan stories.)

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