Pakistan Government blamed for assassination plot on former PM

Imran Khan aide blames government for assassination ‘cover up’

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Imran Khan’s assassination attempt was orchestrated by the Pakistani Government and the supposed video confession of the suspect is a “crude cover-up”, a spokesperson for the former prime minister has claimed. Speaking to Times Radio, Raoof Hasan, an aide to Mr Khan, said they have “totally rejected” the confession of the detainee and believe it is an attempt by the Government to direct blame for the attack away from themselves. He claimed Mr Khan has “solid intelligence” pointing to the people responsible for the “hideous, monstrous” plot to murder him and that such information could be divulged in a press conference later on Friday. 

Mr Hasan said: “They got this video confession within about 45 minutes of the assassination attempt. You know, this is a very crude cover-up mechanism employed by the Government and we have totally rejected it.” 

Asked about the “dangerous” associated with making such an accusation, Mr Hasan added: “We had advance intelligence input in the last few days that such an attempt was going to be made. So, it is not just conjectural. This is based on the solid intelligence that Khan has been receiving. 

“I think it is important to note that we named the people who we consider to be the orchestrators of this hideous, monstrous assassination attempt.” 

Fawad Chaudhry, a senior leader from Mr Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party, confirmed on Friday that Mr Khan was in “stable condition at the Shaukat Khanum hospital in Lahore after undergoing surgery there”. 

He said the party leadership was meeting in Lahore later Friday but provided no further details. Mr Khan’s party in a brief statement urged supporters to hold nationwide rallies to condemn the shooting.

Protesters in Pakistan erupted on Thursday following the attack, raising concerns about growing political instability in Pakistan, a country with a history of political violence and assassinations.

Scores of Mr Khan’s supporters demonstrated in various parts of the country, with some chanting slogans against the military and vowing to avenge the attack. 

One of Khan’s supporters was killed during the assassination attempt and 13 others, including two lawmakers, were wounded. 

Asad Umar, a senior figure from Khan’s party, blamed the shooting on Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the country’s interior minister, and an army general without offering any evidence. The government called the allegation baseless, saying it has ordered a high-level probe and that the attacker is being questioned.

 

Police are still questioning the alleged attacker, who is shown in a video saying he carried out the shooting and acted alone. Defence minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif on Friday said the Punjab government suspended the police officials who released the video to the media.

The attack took place as the former cricket star-turned-politician was travelling in a large protest convoy of trucks and cars toward Islamabad. Video footage shows him and his team ducking for cover on top of a vehicle as gunfire rings out.

Interior minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said some political elements from Mr Khan’s party were trying to create chaos in the country following the attack.

The interior minister called the alleged gunman a “religious extremist” who had accused the ex-premier of comparing himself to prophets in some of his recent public speeches.

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Mr Khan, 70, is likely to be allowed to go home soon, according to Faisal Sultan, who is heading the team of doctors who treated him. He told reporters Thursday that Mr Khan’s surgery continued for two hours and he had a bullet wound in his right leg.

Mr Khan maintains that his April ouster from Parliament was unlawful and a conspiracy by his political opponents orchestrated by the United States, a charge denied by both Washington and Sharif.

Khan wants the government to announce snap elections. He led the protest from Lahore last Friday along with thousands of supporters, saying his protest will continue until his demands are accepted. Pakistan says elections will take place as scheduled in 2023. 

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