Ex-PM Khan breaks off protest march after shooting


ISLAMABAD (AP) — Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was breaking off his march on the capital, Islamabad, a day when a gunman opened fire on his campaign convoy, wounding him and killing one of his supporters. Thirteen other people were also injured in the attack.

Khan addressed reporters on Friday evening – his first public remarks since the shooting – and promised he would resume his protest once he recovered from the gunshot wound.

The bullet hit him in the right leg, above the ankle.

Khan’s protest march and rallies, which began last Friday, were peaceful until Thursday’s attack in Wazirabad, a district of eastern Punjab province.

The shooting raised concerns about growing political instability in Pakistan, which has a history of political violence and assassinations.

“As soon as I recover, I have decided that I will be back on the streets and (I) will call for a (march on) Islamabad,” Khan said, adding that he knew he could be the target of an attack.

Sitting in a wheelchair with his right leg bandaged and raised on a stool, Khan spoke from Shaukat Khanum Hospital, where he underwent surgery on Thursday evening. Television cameras broadcast his remarks live.

Khan accused Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan and Army General Faisal Naseer working for the spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence of orchestrating the shooting. The minister and the former prime minister are not related.

Khan has provided no evidence for his allegations, which have been dismissed by Sharif’s government and dismissed as a “package of lies” by Information Minister Maryam Aurangzeb. The spy agency said there was absolutely no truth to Khan’s allegations. The army said it had sought legal action against those who defamed the army and senior officers with “baseless allegations” devoid of any evidence.

The government said it had ordered a high-level investigation. The shooter, who was arrested at the scene of the attack, was still being questioned on Friday, police said. On Thursday, local police officials released video showing the man who said in the footage he shot and acted alone.

Supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party ‘Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’ throw stones at police officers during a protest to condemn a shooting attack on their leader’s convoy, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan . PHOTO: AP

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