Ex-Pakistani PM Khan supporters hold nationwide protests, demand political change


This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Ex-Pakistani PM Khan supporters hold nationwide protests, demand political change

PROTESTS. Supporters of former prime minister Imran Khan, react following the shooting incident on his long march in Wazirabad, during a protest in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on November 3, 2022.

Waseem Khan/Reuters

Imran Khan's party calls for the protests to continue until its demand for political change in Pakistan is met

WAZIRABAD, Pakistan – Supporters of former Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan staged nationwide protests on Friday, November 4, a day after he survived what his aides said was an assassination attempt, blocking key roads in major cities and sometimes clashing with security forces.

Khan’s party called for the protests to continue until its demand for political change in Pakistan is met, a close Khan aide said.

Khan was shot in the leg on Thursday, November 3, as he waved to crowds from a truck-mounted container from which he was leading a protest march on the capital, Islamabad, to press for early elections and the resignation of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

“Today, after Friday prayers, there will be protests across the country, which will continue until Imran Khan’s demand is met,” the close aide, Asad Umar, said on Twitter. It was not immediately clear whether Umar was referring to Sharif quitting or the holding of snap elections.

Sharif led a coalition of parties that removed Khan from power through a parliamentary vote in April.

Khan’s supporters began gathering early on Friday at the place where he was shot and urged the former premier – known by millions around the world as a former star cricket player and captain of the national team – to resume his march on Islamabad.

In the eastern city of Lahore, where Khan is undergoing treatment, groups of protesters numbering hundreds in each of 10 separate locations burnt tires and blocked major roads.

They also gathered outside the fortified office of the Punjab provincial governor and pelted the gate with stones, destroying security cameras and barriers, witnesses said.

Tear gas

Local television channels showed police using tear gas in Islamabad to disperse protesters who had blocked roads.

Protesters also blocked roads in the north-western city of Peshawar and in Karachi in the south.

Khan has made no public comment since the shooting but is expected to release a statement later on Friday.

Supporters said the march on Islamabad had to continue.

“It cannot stop. People are very angry, it will become more intense,” Ansar Bashir, 40, a supporter who witnessed the shooting from close by, told Reuters while holding a flag of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

Police – who are yet to log a case or issue a preliminary report on the attack, which occurred in a region where Khan’s party is in government – have cordoned off the area and worked through the night to gather evidence.

The vehicle Khan was traveling in remained parked at the site, a busy street in Wazirabad about 200 km (120 miles) east of Islamabad. Some shops there had reopened by early Friday but there was an air of apprehension.

“This has given Wazirabad a bad name. He should stop (the protests), more lives will be lost,” said Tahirul Qamar, a medical worker who had come to the market.

Under medical supervision

Khan spent Thursday night in hospital in Lahore under supervision of doctors, who say his life is not in danger.

Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid, also a member of PTI, told Reuters two bullets had hit Khan in the shin and the thigh.

According to Punjab government spokesperson and PTI leader Mussarat Jamshed Cheema, Khan has demanded that police investigate Prime Minister Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and intelligence official Major-General Faisal, alleging they were behind the attack.

Khan and his party have not produced any evidence to support that allegation. Sharif and Sanaullah have condemned the attack and deny involvement.

The military did not respond to a request for comment on Khan’s allegation, but earlier condemned the incident.

Sharif has called for a transparent inquiry into the shooting.

Sanaullah, speaking to journalists on Friday, expressed concern about a video statement that he said was given in police custody, in which a man presented as the alleged shooter says he was motivated by religious reasons to attack Khan.

The video, whose authenticity Reuters was unable to confirm, was run widely by Pakistani media.

Punjab police confirmed they had made an arrest, but it was not clear if this was the person shown in the footage.

The interior minister said he feared the video might encourage other religious extremists to take matters into their own hands, and he requested that the PTI review Khan’s security arrangements. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!