Pakistan police launch probe in gun attack on ex-premier Khan

Mr Imran Khan’s supporters began their protests on major roads around Islamabad late on Monday. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani police on Tuesday launched a criminal investigation into a failed assassination attempt on former prime minister Imran Khan, saying one shooter was involved – against Mr Khan’s assertion that there were two of them.

The former cricket star, who has been pressing for a general election since he was ousted as prime minister after losing a confidence vote in Parliament in April, was shot at the rally last Thursday. He is recovering from leg wounds.

Regional police chief Akhtar Abbas told Reuters a criminal investigation had been launched, without elaborating.

A copy of the police report lodged by Wazirabad police and seen by Reuters said a man in the crowd near Mr Khan had taken out a pistol and started shooting, wounding the former premier and 10 other people, one of whom later died.

Police said the suspected shooter was arrested after Khan supporter Ibtesam Hasan overpowered him and threw off his aim, possibly saving the former premier from more serious gunshot wounds.

In several local media interviews, Mr Hasan has said the suspect detained by police was the shooter he had tackled.

Mr Khan, who alleged two shooters had tried to kill him, and his aides have said they will not accept the case registered by police until it includes suspects named by him.

“We will file a petition,” Khan aide Fawad Chaudhry told Reuters, saying the party would want a court to decide on the names given by the former premier.

Mr Khan has accused three people of devising a plan to assassinate him, naming Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and an intelligence official, Major-General Faisal Nasser.

He has provided no evidence for his claim, which was strongly denied by the government and military.

Mr Khan’s supporters blocked roads near the capital on Tuesday, disrupting traffic and forcing schools to close, as they protested against the bid to assassinate their leader.

Mr Khan’s supporters began their protests on major roads around Islamabad late on Monday.

They blocked the highway to Islamabad’s international airport and the ones linking the capital to the cities of Lahore and Peshawar.

Television footage showed Mr Khan’s supporters burning tyres as they set up protest camps across roads.

The government ordered all state and private schools to shut for the day, according to an order seen by Reuters. REUTERS

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