Pakistan: Wounded But Defiant Imran Khan Promises To Take To Streets Again


By Shahjahan Khurram and Aamir Saeed

Sitting in a wheelchair with his legs bandaged, ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan, wounded in a gun attack on his protest convoy, said on Friday he blamed the assault on three officials: Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and ISI director-general for counter intelligence, Major General Faisal Naseer, promising to take to the streets again once he recovered.

Khan was holding a press talk at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital in Lahore, a day after he was shot in the legs on Thursday as he waved to crowds from a truck-mounted container from which he was leading a protest march on the capital, Islamabad, to press for early elections and the resignation of PM Sharif.

“As soon as I am better, I will go out on the streets again, I will again give a call [for a protest march],” a defiant Khan said.

Speaking about what he called a plot to kill him, Khan said:

“Three people made the plan,” naming Sharif, Sanaullah and Nasser.

“I want to ask [army chief] General [Qamar Javed] Bajwa, will your honor rise or fall if you take action against people who inflict violence on people?”

“Hatred will grow,” Khan warned, if the three officials he had named were not held accountable.

“Until these three people resign, how will there be an investigation?”

He asked his party workers and followers to protest until the three people resigned.

“The constitution gives you the right to stand up against oppression and for your freedom,” Khan continued. “You all need to come out to take part in the protest.”

The former premier warned the army chief that these “black sheep” were harming the Pakistan army.

“Don’t treat humans like animals. They will stand up at some point. And this nation has stood up,” Khan said. “There will either be a peaceful revolution or a bloody revolution.”

As Khan spoke, supporters of the former Pakistani prime minister staged nationwide protests, blocking key roads in major cities and clashing with police and security forces.

Khan’s supporters began gathering early on Friday at the place where he was shot in eastern Pakistan and urged the former premier — known by millions around the world as a former star cricket player and captain of the national team — to resume his march on Islamabad.

In the eastern city of Lahore, where Khan is undergoing treatment, groups of protesters burnt tires and blocked major roads at major areas of the city.

They also gathered outside the fortified office of the Punjab provincial governor and pelted the gate with stones, destroying security cameras and barriers, TV footage showed.

Local news channels also showed police using tear gas in Islamabad and Karachi to disperse protesters who had blocked roads.

Protesters also blocked roads in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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