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LAHORE: Law enforcement agencies (LEAs) on Friday arrested a suspect outside Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman and former Prime Minister Imran Khan was under medical treatment.

On Thursday, the former premier came under a gun attack when a suspect, standing in front of the container carrying Imran and other party leaders, showered a volley of bullets with an automatic pistol when the party’s ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’ march reached Wazirabad’s Allahwala Chowk.

One party supporter, identified as Muazzam Nawaz, had died during the attack while ex-PM sustained a bullet injury to his leg besides 14 other workers and leaders, including Senator Faisal Javed Khan and MNA Ahmed Nasir Chattha.

Sources said the police officials deputed on the security of Imran outside the hospital bundled a suspect into police mobile after observing his ‘suspicious’ activities and shifted him to an undisclosed location for interrogation. Police said that the suspect was trying to unlock a vehicle parked outside the hospital.

They said that initial interrogation revealed that the suspect belongs to Raiwind city, where the annual congregation of “Raiwind Tableeghi Ijtima” was under way.

Meanwhile, the Punjab police’s Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) was assigned the task to lead the investigation into the attack on PTI chairman Imran Khan and other party leaders.

During the preliminary investigation, it revealed that accused Naveed was a drug addict and he bought 46 bullets along with a pistol. The accused bought the gun from one Waqas, who had originally obtained it from another suspect Faisal Butt, the authorities said, adding that raids were being carried out to arrest Waqas and Butt in Wazirabad and Sialkot, respectively.

They said the accused Naveed first tried to use the rooftop of a mosque but security officials did not allow him to go there due to Asr prayers. They added that Naveed used to listen to the speeches of religious personalities, especially chief of a religio-political party. The cell phone has been sent for forensic examination.

As per the investigation, the attacker reached Allahwala Chowk through Bypass Road and he used a 9mm pistol. Police have recovered 11 bullet shells from the crime scene, including nine pistol bullets and two large firearm bullets. The police have also recovered two gun magazines and 20 bullets from the suspect. At a distance of about 15 to 20 steps from the container, he fired all the bullets in burst mode.

The investigators said that Naveed claimed that he saw that the person, who grabbed his hand during the shooting, got fainted and fell on the ground after sustaining a bullet injury which was fired from the container. He alleged that someone from the container took his aim and fired two shots but luckily he remained unhurt.

However, he said, one bullet hit a man, probably deceased Muazzam Nawaz, while the other one hit a nearby tree. Before leaving home and chasing PTI chairman Imran Khan, the accused told his family members that he was going to finish an “important work”, the authorities said, adding that following the statement of the accused, all the weapons provided to guards, deputed on security duties, had been seized and a forensic analysis was being carried out.

Earlier in the day, a large number of PTI supporters gathered outside the Punjab Governor House to protest against the gun attack on former premier Imran Khan. The protesters burnt tyres and tried to break into the building and broke CCTV cameras. A scuffle between the police and protesters was also seen besides heavy traffic jams on major thoroughfares.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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