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Imran starts walking unaided

LAHORE, May 21: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan was fitted with a specially designed spinal brace on Tuesday which enabled him to stand upright unsupported for the first time since his fall from a forklift and resultant injuries during an election campaign on May 7.

According to doctors, the former cricket star walked unaided for over 300 metres and did not complain of any pain. They said the PTI chief was likely to be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

“He will gradually increase physical activity over the next few weeks and is expected to regain his full functional capacity in six to eight weeks,” they said.

Imran Khan had a series of spine X-rays which, according to the doctors, confirmed continued healing and excellent alignment of his backbone. The X-rays were reviewed by a team of radiologists and surgeons who expressed satisfaction about his recovery. Mr Khan’s consultants said that after being discharged from the hospital he would have to receive regular physiotherapy and need to wear the spinal support for some more weeks.

Like he had been doing in the past, Imran Khan would pay the entire cost of his hospitalisation at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre from his own pocket.

Hospital officials said a number of Mr Khan’s friends and well-wishers had offered to pay his medical bill, but he asked them to donate that money to the hospital for the care of poor cancer patients.

AFP adds: Shireen Mazari, spokesperson for the PTI, said Imran Khan was feeling better and had managed to walk in hospital. “Imran Khan will be discharged from hospital on Wednesday,” she said, adding: “I have just talked to Imran Khan, who told me that he would be going home tomorrow.”

Khwaja Nazir, spokesman for the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital, confirmed that the PTI chief would be moving home on Wednesday.

“He has already worn a brace around his back, which he will have to use for four to six weeks,” he said.