- PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry says long march to continue
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has been reported to be stable at the Shaukat Khanum hospital in Lahore where he was shifted after sustaining an injury due to an assassination attempt during the party's long march in Wazirabad, Gujranwala on Thursday.
The former prime minister was wounded when shots were fired at his long march container.
The firing also resulted in injuries to PTI leader Faisal Javed Khan, reported Aaj News.
Faisal Javed was shifted to a nearby hospital soon after the incident, while one culprit was arrested.
Man suspected of attacking Imran shot dead: aide
AFP reported that a man suspected of attacking the former premier Imran Khan during the political rally was shot dead, an aide said.
"A second man was taken into police custody," Raoof Hasan, the senior Khan aide told AFP, adding that it was unclear who shot the first attacker.
Reuters reported that Imran was shot in the shin in what his aides said was a clear assassination attempt.
Several others in the convoy were wounded. One party member said there were reports one person had been killed.
"It was a clear assassination attempt. Imran Khan was hit but he’s stable. There was a lot of bleeding," Fawad Chaudhry, a PTI leader, told Reuters.
"If the shooter had not been stopped by people there, the entire PTI leadership would have been wiped out."
PTI leader Asad Umar also said that a man opened fire with an automatic weapon.
"Several people are wounded. Imran Khan is also injured," Asad Umar told Reuters.
In a brief conversation with Aaj News immediately after the incident, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry confirmed that Imran Khan was "shot in the leg in a targeted attack during the long march". He said that three people were injured in the attack, including Senator Faisal Javed and Ahmad Chattha.
PM Shehbaz condemns incident
Shortly after the incident, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif strongly condemned the firing and called for an immediate report.
According to a tweet shared by PML-N President’s account, the prime minister also directed Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to seek an immediate report from IG Police and Chief Secretary Punjab.
Talking to Aaj News, PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the "assassination attempt on Imran Khan is a cowardly act meant to derail the long march".
“A probe should be carried out of the incident, and those involved in it should be investigated. However, nothing can be said until clarity is achieved,” he said. “Our first priority is to protect the lives of people,” he added.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) also condemned the "firing incident" during PTI long march near Gujranwala and wished a speedy recovery to Imran Khan and all those injured.
"Firing incident during Long March near Gujranwala is highly condemnable," the military's media wing said.
"Sincere prayers for precious life lost and speedy recovery and well-being of Chairman PTI Imran Khan and all those injured in this unfortunate incident," the press release reads.
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb called on the Punjab government to make public the initial investigation details into the assassination attempt on Imran .
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Marriyum said the attack on Imran Khan happened within the jurisdiction of Punjab, and the provincial government is due to release further details on the matter.
The incident comes as PTI’s long march entered its seventh day. Imran had planned to spend the whole day in Wazirabad. His march, termed by the political party as 'Haqeeqi Azadi', has looked to build pressure on the coalition-led government to call early elections.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi also took notice of the incident, and asked the police chief to investigate.
PTI chief Imran was meant to deliver an address to his party workers in Wazirabad, Gujranwala when shots were fired.
In a late-night tweet, Fawad Chaudhry said the party’s long march will continue as per schedule despite the assassination attempt.