Imran Khan well and recovering after surgery to remove bullets

Imran Khan ‘well and recovering’ says aide

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Pakistan’s ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan has survived a shooting at a political rally and is now out of danger, one of his aides said. The former Pakistani Prime Minister underwent surgery after an assailant pulled the trigger on Thursday. Since the attack took place, his party and partisans have called the attack an assassination attempt led by the sitting Government.

The former Pakistani Prime Minister was swiftly taken from the rally site to receive treatment in Lahore and is now “well and recovering”, his aide Raoof Hasan told Times Radio.

Mr Hasan said: “He was operated upon last night. The bullets were taken out and his well on the way to recovery.”

Within an hour of the attack, police reportedly arrested the alleged suspect who carried a 9mm pistol and two empty magazines, police said.

Shortly after the arrest, Pakistan’s Ministry of Information released a video of a confession from an unnamed man who it claims tried to kill Mr Khan.

The aide said: “They got this video confession within about 45 minutes of the assassination attempt.”

“This is a very crude cover-up mechanism employed by the Government. And we have totally rejected it,” Mr Hasan said.

Since he was ousted in April, the former Prime Minister has fought to return to power by leading a nationwide tour of protests calling for early elections to be called to facilitate his comeback.

On the seventh day of the demonstration on Thursday, Mr Khan led another march that took protesters to the northeasern city of Wazirabad in the Punjab province.

But as he was speaking on top of an open truck bed, Imran Khan was shot in the lower leg. Video of the alleged attack shows Khan waving when shots rang out, sending his party members ducking for cover. 

Mr Khan was then swiftly taken from the rally site to receive treatment in Lahore – a two-and-half-hour drive away from the attack – and was in stable condition. 

A senior leader of Mr Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s party, later said: “There are pellets lodged in his leg, his bone has been chipped, he has also been shot in his thigh.”

In a video posted by the country’s Ministry of Information, the alleged suspect arrested by the police said that he “wanted to kill Imran Khan” because he “was misleading people,” adding he had no accomplices.

A man said in the video: “They (Khan’s rallies) were playing music and shouting from the loudspeakers as the call for prayer was happening. I didn’t like this happening on our soil.”

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Immediately after the shooting, several of his allies accused sitting political leaders, including Prime Minister Sharif, of having plotted the attack.

Mr Hasan told the BBC’s Newshour programme the Government was “attempting to eliminate [Imran Khan] physically”.

Mr Khan, who has previously described his removal as a conspiracy theory, was ousted after losing a vote of no-confidence in his leadership in April.

The former Pakistani Prime Minister is expected to give a press conference at 4 pm to announce how he will proceed with nationwide protests to demand his return to office.

“And indeed, the Indian intermediary has called for nationwide protests after yesterday, which will commence at about 3 pm, Mr Khan’s aide added.

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