• Monday, February 06, 2023

HEADLINE STORY

PTI vows to continue protest march after attack on Imran Khan; holds protests across Pakistan

Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Leaders and supporters of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), the party led by former prime minister Imran Khan, appeared unfazed by the gun attack on the latter during a rally in Wazirabad near Gujranwala in Punjab province on Thursday (3) and vowed to continue with their long march towards national capital Islamabad.

Khan, 70, sustained injury to his legs and was said to be out of danger.

Following the attack, PTI supporters started protests across the country with the party’s senior leadership coming forward to express solidarity with Khan and dozen other supporters who were also injured in the attack, Pakistani daily Dawn reported.

Senior PTI leader Asad Umar said in a tweet that the rulers could not stop Khan and hence “the cowards tried to martyr him”.

“The blessing of Allah is with Khan and Allah Almighty has to get a lot of work done for the nation by the Captain [Imran],” he added.

Khan, who accused prime minister Shehbaz Sharif and other senior officials of being behind a conspiracy to eliminate him, served as the prime minister between August 2018 and April this year when he was ousted through a no-confidence motion and was succeeded by Sharif. Khan has remained one of the fiercest critics of the current regime, often mocking it as an “imported government”.

The PTI leaders questioned the narrative that the attack involved only one shooter and hinted towards a “larger conspiracy” to kill Khan.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi, another senior PTI leader, tweeted, “This attack was not on Imran Khan but on the Pakistani nation. After this cowardly act, now Imran Khan will move towards the destination [Islamabad] with more force. God willing.”

Yasmin Rashid, president of PTI’s Punjab chapter, posted on Twitter: “You cannot deter us. You cannot! [Imran Khan] is injured but safe. There are some critical [injuries], but we will not be deterred and we will take you to task! May Allah protect us all.”

Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi visited Khan at Lahore’s Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital and expressed a serious concern over the attack.

Street protests were staged in Karachi and other parts of Sindh province on Thursday after the attack.

PTI supporters took to the street and burnt tyres; staged sit-in and blocked roads, causing long traffic congestions in Karachi. In Hyderabad, the PTI workers shut down shops.

Protests were also staged in areas such as Nawabshah, Sakrand, Moro, Kandiaro, and Naushahro Feroze etc where PTI workers blocked roads and highways.

The police in Islamabad on Friday (4) lodged cases against PTI protesters in a couple of police stations in the city, The Nation reported. Three protesters, including two women, were also arrested. Lawyers also protested against the attack on Khan in Islamabad.

Protests were also held in Khyber-Pakhthunkhwa province.

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