Footage has emerged of the moment cricket legend and former Pakistaini prime minister Imran Khan was shot in what his supporters are calling an assassination attempt.

On Thursday evening AEDT, the 70-year-old and at least four others were wounded during a political rally while his supporters marched in the town of Wazirabad, around 200km from the capital Islamabad, to demand snap elections.

At least one person is reported to have died in the attack.

Khan was shot in the shin and is expected to fully recover.

The gunman, who has been arrested, reportedly said Khan was “misleading the people” and he had “tried my best to kill him”.

Asad Umar, a senior member of Khan’s political party, accused current prime minister Shehbaz Sharif of being behind the attack but did not provide any evidence of the claim.

How attack unfolded

The gunman reportedly opened fire on the vehicle carrying Khan in Wazirabad as his cavalcade made its way to Islamabad.

Footage from the rally shows Khan on top of a vehicle in clear view of the crowd at 4.21pm local time, reported AlJazeera.

Multiple shots can then be heard as Khan ducks. Other people on the vehicle then surround him to shield him from the volley.

Khan was rushed to a hospital in Lahore where he is recovering.

Other footage has shown an injured Khan hobbling apparently after the attack and being supported so he can move.

“He is in a stable condition,” his senior aide, Raoof Hasan, told AFP.

“This was an attempt to kill him, to assassinate him.”

Hasan claimed there were two attackers, though police have only confirmed the existence of one, who was arrested at the scene.

I tried my best to kill him’

Police subsequently released a video of the suspect, identified as Faisal Butt.

“(Khan) was misleading the people, and I couldn’t bear it so I attempted to kill him,” the man is reported as saying.

“I tried my best to kill him. I wanted to kill Imran Khan only and no one else”.

Syed Ali Zafar, a senator from Khan’s party, has said one of the former prime minister’s supporters was killed in the shooting. Authorities have yet to confirm that.

“I condemn the incident of firing on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Khan’s political party) Chairman Imran Khan in the strongest words,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said.

“Violence should have no place in national politics.”

President Arif Alvi labelled the attack a “heinous assassination attempt”.

“Those behind this incident will be brought to justice soon, and the injured will be provided the best medical care,” Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi said.

Apparent footage of gunman

There is also footage that appears to show a member of the public struggling with a gunman, trying to prevent him from aiming his weapon. Local media have identified this member of the public by his first name, Ibtisam.

“He loaded the magazine and was preparing to fire. I approached him when he shot one bullet in the air,” Ibtisam told reporters, according to Al Jazeera.

“I pulled at him, which caused his aim to go awry. He then tried to run away, but people went after him and we managed to stop him.”

Hammad Azhar, a senior official from Khan’s political party said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party member Ahmed Chattha was among those injured, though his life was not under threat.

“I am with Ahmed,” Azhar wrote on Twitter.

“He is out of danger. he has two gunshot wounds, one in each thigh. The wounds are not deep and he is being operated upon to remove the bullets.”

Faisal Javed, a senior PTI politician, was also injured. In a video posted online, in which he could be seen receiving treatment for a head wound, Javed asked his followers to “pray for us” and for Khan.

He claimed a party member had died.

Newspaper columnist Arifa Noor told Al Jazeera the alleged attack on Khan triggered memories of another former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007. Her death was followed by a wave of violence.

“Nobody expected it to be like this, to have gunshots fired at a former prime minister, considering just back in 2007 we lost a very popular leader through this kind of violence,” Noor said.

“Right now there is an immediate reaction from supporters of PTI, and it is an aggressive reaction. But hopefully, once the leadership recovers from the shock – because at the moment it seems they are all rushing to where the former prime minister has been taken for treatment – they will try and keep their supporters calm.”

Khan, one Pakistan’s most celebrated cricketers, played 88 Tests and 175 ODIs between 1971 and 1992.

He served as Pakistan’s prime minister from August 2018 until April 2022, when he was ousted via a no-confidence motion following accusations he incorrectly declared details of gifts from foreign dignitaries and proceeds from their alleged sale.

On October 21, the Election Commission of Pakistan recommended that Khan be disqualified from holding public office for five years, accusing him of “corrupt practices”.

Khan has repeatedly claimed, without any evidence, that the United States was responsible for his ejection from office.

He has been leading a march from Lahore towards Islamabad, campaigning for fresh elections.

When the news of his injury broke, the Pakistan men’s cricket team was facing South Africa in a T20 World Cup match at the SCG.

Pakistan won the match by 33 runs via the DLS Method.

– with AFP




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