ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – After a weeklong pause due to an attempted assassination on former Prime Minister Imran Khan, thousands of supporters resumed the “long march” to the Pakistan capital Islamabad on Thursday.
Last week, Khan said he would resume the protest to demand the removal of the government and immediate elections, after recovering from an assassination attempt that left him wounded in Lahore hospital.
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Khan, 70, sustained bullet wounds in his leg during a rally in Wazirabad on November 3. He will be addressing the march later on Thursday via a video link from his residence in Lahore where he is recuperating, as Aljazeera wrote.
In a tweet on Wednesday, the ousted PM said he discovered an alleged plot to assassinate him two months ago, adding he will disclose the name of a second military official allegedly involved in the plot during his address to supporters participating in the “long march”.
“I had discovered the assassination plot hatched against me almost two months ago & exposed it in RYK 24th Sept & Mianwali 7th Oct public rallies,” he wrote. “Wazirabad assassination attempt followed the script.”
Khan believed the current political leaders – including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the interior minister and a military general – were behind the attack.
But in a press conference on Friday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah rejected the allegations, saying that the Punjab government was to blame for any security lapses in the state. “We see Imran Khan as a political opponent, not an enemy,” he added.
The military’s office and Sharif condemned the shooting and ordered an investigation.
Earlier this week, Pakistan police filed a report into attempted assassination of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to sources, who bore injury from multiple gun shots on his leg during the long march last week.
The authorities in the eastern province of Punjab, where the shooting took place, filed what is known as a first information report (FIR) on Monday following orders from the country’s Supreme Court, as Aljazeera wrote.
The police report was filed under anti-terror laws, naming Naveed Ahmed as the suspected attacker. He was arrested at the site of the attack on November 3, whose confession video has been circulating on social media. Bottom of Form
Ever since his government was toppled, the Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has been fighting to return to office, leading a “long march” of protests to seek early elections that will facilitate his comeback.
But the government has repeatedly said the elections will be held as scheduled, in 2023.
Meanwhile, Khan maintains his ouster in a parliament no-confidence vote in April was unlawful, and a conspiracy by his political opponents orchestrated by the United States. However, both Washington and Pakistan’s new Prime Minister, Shahbaz Sharif, denied.