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Chairman of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf Imran Khan addressing a press conference at a local hotel.—Online Photo
Chairman of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf Imran Khan addressing a press conference at a local hotel.—Online Photo

KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan has confirmed speculations doing the rounds in the country in the run-up to the May 11 elections that there was a plot to assassinate him and that the fall off a forklift at a Lahore rally on May 7 that nearly killed him “had quite possibly saved my life”.

In an article carried by Britain’s MailOnline on Sunday, Mr Khan wrote he had been told he was number one on the terrorist hit-list. There are perhaps 25 militant groups which call themselves ‘Taliban’ and any one of them could have been hired by his political opponents.

Mr Khan said there had already been damaging allegations, including the claim that he was part of a Zionist conspiracy to take over Pakistan. “It was a dangerous allegation, and one that sounds crazy given my vehement opposition to drone strikes and the so-called war on terror. But the threat to my life was all too real.

“It is an irony, then, that a serious assassination attempt was prevented only by an accident and the fact that I spent the closing days of the Pakistan election campaign in a hospital bed.

“The fall that nearly killed me quite possibly saved my life.”

He wrote the meeting where he fell was the first of nine rallies scheduled for that night. “The following day I was supposed to be speaking at a further 13 [rallies], spaced along the old Grand Trunk Road from Lahore to Islamabad.”

“We were drawing massive crowds…and we didn’t have the means to handle the spontaneous exuberance of the crowds.

“We were losing control. The authorities had already warned me that my life was at risk, and I had been given the highest level of police security.

“One safety measure was having me speak from a platform about 24 feet above ground. This provided some protection from a potential bomb blast.

“There were no steps, so instead a forklift truck was used to raise me up to the small platform to speak…The forklift rose in a series of jerks and the security men surrounding me formed a barrier. This meant I could not see there wasn’t a guard rail around the platform.

“Losing my balance, I leant over to where I thought the safety barrier would be – and grasped at thin air. I somersaulted downwards, landing on my back from a height of about 18ft…I was lucky to be alive.”

The PTI leader said his great fear as he lay in his hospital bed was that he was going to be paralysed.

“I’ve never known a life where I wasn’t in control of my body. I found myself prey to morbid thoughts, something completely out of character. I thought in particular about the victims of drone attacks and terrorist bombs. We always hear about the dead, not so much [about] those who end up maimed. That was my great fear: not death, but being disabled.

“…CT scans showed I had indeed come very close to being paralysed. The bullet-proof vest I’d started wearing only a few days earlier had acted as a cushion, and absorbed some of the shock of the fall.”

Mr Khan said there was something else, too: “If I hadn’t been in hospital I could have been dead. [The interior] minister came to visit and told me of an assassination attempt scheduled for the day after my fall.”

“At the same time,” Mr Khan points out, “it was frustrating. We were coming to the end of the biggest election campaign in Pakistani history, and we had touched the hearts of the masses.

“…There is much to be optimistic about. Yet the discovery that I had avoided an assassination plot serves to illustrate that Pakistan’s multiple crises are as serious and threatening as ever.

“To begin with, there is no doubt that this was the most rigged election in Pakistan’s history, an election in which every party that participated has alleged massive fraud was committed. We know this to be true.

“…it was the first election to be conducted by an independent judiciary. We had thumbprint IDs on ballot slips. But sadly the judicial officers became part of the problem.”

Mr Khan said that Pakistan’s biggest impediment to moving forward and achieving its potential was terrorism. Yet the country was unable to tackle the underlying causes: the war in Afghanistan and the drone strikes.

“Each drone attack, each operation against militants in tribal areas leads to more Pakistani dead, and the level of violence, along with a surge in extremism, will lead to a radicalisation of our society. It will only diminish when Pakistan starts to control its own territory and its destiny again, and disengages from this American-led war.

“Yet I still have hope. Once again, I face each new day with excitement. I was hugely cheered when Nato General Nick Carter said recently that we should have been talking to the Taliban 10 years ago. That’s what I’ve been saying for many years – the only way out of this crisis, and to rebuild our country, is to reach a political settlement.”

Comments (63) Closed

Khan Jul 29, 2013 08:16am

Cheap publicity stunt by IK to hide his party failure in KPK. I have stop taking IK seriously, he become a total disappointment. Thanks god the country doesn't choose his party.

ahmed Jul 29, 2013 08:47am

And this self-absorbed conspiracy theorist is going to achieve miracles in KP 90 days after elections (i.e. by August 11), convince the taliban that it is not nice to kill people, among other miracles!!

Ayaz Jul 29, 2013 09:07am

So what is your point? ... It is a new Pakistan.... Nobody forced you to get into politics,

irum afshan qureshi Jul 29, 2013 09:21am

imran khan, the pride of Pakistan; steadfast and ready, speaks out with fury; his profile is perfect, his records worth pride; where ever he goes victory is sure, for he never gives up, and he never gives in, for he is a winner and who not a winner

Dilwer Jul 29, 2013 09:40am

Is this an attempt to create sympathy and make another case of conspiracy ridden politics? If this is a Monday morning quarter backing or some spacial revelation from God reserved for for chosen politicians. How many security failure examples Imran needs to learn that he could be a target too. No one to blame for the his fall from a forklift but himself. How can you protect a nation when you can't even protect yourself. It is the survival of the fittest and you ain't the most fit to lead.

Hemat Jul 29, 2013 09:49am

I am totally lost. He wants to play on all sides. For years he has been providing justifications to violence against common Pakistanis, invoking hard to understand justifications. Now he wants to play on the other side and to cash on his fall the second time. No wonder politics is a shameless trade and he's good at it. Does he feel anything for the thousands injured by the extremists he provides justifications for?

Nizamuddin Ahmad Jul 29, 2013 10:34am

Imran Khan: Reform the job selection procedure Fight to abolish quota in governments job. This has been the mother of all the problems. The second and third rate candidates have penetrated the system. Look no further than the police and foreign service. Your uncle a four star general was one of the architects of quota system during Ayub regime.

faiza Jul 29, 2013 10:43am

Imran is full of surprises every time he speaks when he comes out of his silent mode. I guess he had refueled in London.

NA-250 Jul 29, 2013 10:48am

Any Thing for Cheap publicity and Political Millage.

Self proclaimed Hero.

incredible Jul 29, 2013 11:30am

interior minister told him that, give me a break!

Awais Qureshi Jul 29, 2013 12:03pm

He is just self obsessed.

Yousaf Jul 29, 2013 12:32pm

All Imran Sahab does is complain. I have never heard him give a solution to anything.

Ahmad Farooq Jul 29, 2013 01:36pm

DRAMA!!!! He can see the future, like he did when he saw himself in the Prime Minister House!!!!

ikhlaq Jul 29, 2013 01:55pm

It is nice to know Mr Khan you are recovering but also glad that the terrorist failed but can not help feeling that some of damage to your back could have been avoided if there was a stretcher used to transfer you to ambulance. Anyway good luck and speedy full recovery.

Shahid Saleem Jul 29, 2013 02:31pm

Since when IK started to believe in Rehman Malik?

Moon Jul 29, 2013 03:59pm

@Shahid Saleem: Rehman malik wasn't interior ministor at that time :)

Baber Khan Jul 29, 2013 04:26pm

@Shahid Saleem: Rehman Malik was not the interior minister at that time. It was care-taker government whose interior minister had visited him in the hospital.

shafiq khan Jul 29, 2013 04:38pm

All pride and joy, but what was he doing promoting a woman for election in his home seat, with a fake degree. Did he know it ? If not how can he vouch for people like her? Shafiq

ali Jul 29, 2013 04:39pm

@Shahid Saleem: care taker set up was in place at that time.

mansoor Jul 29, 2013 04:59pm

Honeymoon end fast approaching. KP still bleeding and no one in control. Stop talking about past, glorifying YOUESELF and start showing results. Mr Khan you have been given an ideal opportunity to sort out the most difficult province and if successful Pakistan is your reward. Get down to work not only for the sake of your future premiership but for Pakistan

noman Jul 29, 2013 05:13pm

@Shahid Saleem: he was talking about the caretaker interior minister

noman Jul 29, 2013 05:13pm

he was talking about the caretaker interior minister

Yousaf Jul 29, 2013 05:57pm

Another conspiracy theory for Pakistanis to talk about. Imran Sahab is such a drama. Makes me laugh with all his complaining about everything.

Syed Jul 29, 2013 06:06pm

Khan Sahab, US is negotiating with Taliban because they have nothing to do with them and Taliban are not creating mayhem in their society, US will actually use them for their own nefarious purposes like they have done with various other villinous actors of the past. If Taliban had created 10% of the mayhem in US society like they done in Pakistan then US would have crushed them to oblivion long long time ago. When fitna has reached the level of Taliban it becomes irrepareable and should be provided due justice. Besides, regardless of the reason or motivation of their acts why didn't you ask for swift justice to the bombers of innocent pakistanis? is that what your 'tehreek of Insaaf' ?

And by the way, have you stopped the NATO trucks from using KPK roads?

zafarov Jul 29, 2013 06:47pm

Drone strikes and the killing and maiming of innocents do indeed fuel terrorism.But that is only part of the explanation. These death worshippers are ideological zealots who utterly reject the State and its institutions. They are determined to impose and enforce their version of the Sharia through terrorism, Even if the drone strikes end today, they will continue to pursue what they consider their divine mission.

sherie Jul 29, 2013 08:13pm

... and whats the evidence?

faraz Jul 29, 2013 08:27pm

@Shahid Saleem: I don't see Rehman Malik being mentioned anywhere, except for interior minister.

Usman Jul 29, 2013 08:59pm

@Yousaf: I agree, still hes a tad bit better than the rest of the pack

Anees Jul 29, 2013 09:04pm

Re. NA-250. I remember you were the captain when Pakistan beat India in India and England in England and then went on to win the 1992 World Cup. You are the hero.

Zahid Jul 29, 2013 10:00pm

Everyone loves to be an Imran Khan basher these days. Typical Pakistani leg pulling characteristic. Jo accha kar raha hai, us ko bhi neeche kheincho. This guy is doing so much for the country, and sacrificing his health for it, and all we can do is find faults in him. What a shame. It is a pity for this country that its people cannot differentiate b/w good and bad leaders, and have made a habit of marginalizing its heroes. Perhaps we deserve leaders like Nawaz and Zardari.

athar Jul 29, 2013 10:02pm

Imran is a foreign agent it is 100% sure.He wants a closed door meeting with Army Chief & with premier. Why? so that he can play his role & implement his agenda. No political leader in history of Pakistan demanded this type of the meeting. He has his own agenda even his own party does not know it & he does not share & listen to any one. He is more than the dictator. Be careful & watch all institutions about his activitoies. He is a frequent traveler of India too. Media unnessary making him a leader where the actual fact is he does not stand any where in political life because he is a dictator.

NASR Jul 29, 2013 10:06pm

Though PTI should but dealing with the terrorist issue is more federal than a provincial issue.

Nasir Jul 29, 2013 11:04pm

Mr. Khan is obsessed to be like Benazir Bhutto since his youth (oxford) days. Please forgive him for his subconscious acts in that line.

Per latest reports, KPK became softer for terrorists after PTI government. He must concentrate there. He must forget about rest of Pakistan. In fact all his seats are from there and he must accept that he is a practically local party there with stable government at the moment.

He forgets while praising his presidential candidate for anti Musharaf stance that he himself supported Mr. Musharaf at that time.

He is too old to get any maturity. Sorry to say about him. Sorry to feel for all of us with bleak surroundings.

Sonal Jul 29, 2013 11:06pm

Isn't it a bit naive of Imran Khan to believe and suggest that he avoided an assassination attempt thanks to his fall? I think if the the Taliban really wanted to kill him they would kill him regardless of whether he was in hospital or campaigning.

Khan Jul 30, 2013 12:45am

IK we need results, no more talks........

SA Jul 30, 2013 12:55am

IK is a great man..but his leadership skills are questionable. He was very biased in his captaincy days too and destroyed carers of many talented cricketers. He is now very impatient to become a PM and thanks to media wing of his party, he has won election on FB with simple majority. Later after so much noice specially about Karachi, they claimed 25 seats were portentially lost. Even if they get all those 25 seats, their stature will not change at all. He always praised jirga system and dialouge with terrorists, but why they want to kill him now? He never accepted enormous problems of traditionally lawless norther Pakistan, for which every Pakistani has been paying huge price for a long time. He claimed to uproot corruption in 90 days?? Nothing changed in KPK and his CM also giving favors to his relatives. IK is now very much acting like a mainstream political parties of the country, no different and I don' expect any miracales of any sort from them. All publicity is good publicity.

AK Jul 30, 2013 01:41am

This guy is unbelieveable. Now he is asking for inside stories for making strategies. Before he used to say he had all the strategies ready. On top of everything two of his law makers have fake degrees. Sure, we are goona end up in worst in his leadership.

jdshami Jul 30, 2013 01:46am

Since when Imran Khan has started believing Rehman Malek

Anonymous Jul 30, 2013 04:12am

From the comments, it feels this nation deserves bad rulers because of the ingratitude and petty fault finding in just about every thing... A person tries to claim gratitude to Allah that even such a big accident saved him from a bigger disaster shows real peace at heart. IK is not a people pleaser ... only principle based and he is not angel that he will be 100% error free...but does his 100% effort to make it error free alhumdullilah. Aiming for the best but at the same time believing in Allah's Divine Decree.

Rizwan Jul 30, 2013 05:16am

Is that why you " IMRAN KHAN" are so scared to talk against the taliban and militants... They might get you.

Rizwan Jul 30, 2013 05:33am

You cannot talk to militants and Dacoits mr Imran Khan. They will always use bombs and kidnapping and blackmail to sway the balance to their side. They only stand the language of the gun...

If you belive that you can talk to blackmailers then do so and also release all the prisioners in all the countries jails and just talk to them. Mr Imran Khan when people kill your relatives you cannot talk to them anymore or otherwise they will alway carry on killing. At the talking table they will use bargaining chips of death.

NASAH (USA) Jul 30, 2013 05:41am

Talking of conspiracy theories --Can Imran be sure that his fall from the fork lift was not part of an assassination attempt that the Interior minister warned him about.

NASAH (USA) Jul 30, 2013 05:46am

A leader who is in love with himself -- but then again who is not.

Faiza G. R. Bhatt Jul 30, 2013 08:35am

@shafiq khan:

IK stated in an interview with Moeed that it is not the specialization of political parties to investigate and attest degrees. that area belongs to someone else. political parties are for participating in political affairs, not in scrutiny of documents.

Faiza G. R. Bhatt Jul 30, 2013 08:38am

Wow! so many comments against PTI and IK. seems like other political parties have created their social media teams to spit venom against a party for change against the status quo. most of the comments are basically criticism for the sake of criticism with almost no gist in them. it is great to see some of us providing a defense.

Asif Jul 30, 2013 10:10am

At least the guy can speak English. The haters are probably supporters of mqm adoring a leader thousand of miles away. There is no hope the masses are just as stupid as the politicians - good luck Pakistan!

Ali Jul 30, 2013 12:26pm

he has been favouring Taliban all the time how can he be in the line - this is same old tactics by the politicians

Misbah Jul 30, 2013 02:17pm

@Yousaf : yeah u are absolutely right!

Shen Jul 30, 2013 03:36pm

Very well said. As for all the critics out there ... 1. its hardly been 6 mths since PTI came into power in KPK, atleast give them a chance to do something. Rome was NOT built in a day... 2. I dont see anything wrong in his statement, Benazir was also warned about an attack on her which unfortunately happened, and in Imran Khan's case it was avoided by a mishap, so what's wrong with that? ... 3. As for the person who thinks Imran is "100%" foreign agent, perhaps if you are so "100%" sure , then you should step up and do something about it by taking your "100%" proof to the court. And yes, a lot of political leaders have had meetings with the Army Chiefs in the past, please check your research and anyways, frankly speaking, with the way this country has been bashed up in the last 5 yrs, its about time we do get that meeting to sort things out and by the way, no he is not a frequent traveller to India. So please stop your baseless accusations or come up with the dates of his past travels to India ... 4. Imran never said Taliban is not our enemy. He is saying, we are fighting a losing cause. US is continuing drone strikes while we are paying the price. Our army is helpless against the Taliban, so its about time we talk to them and resolve this dispute... want to know why... because we never talked to them before! We simply started our attacks and allowed US to use their drones! If after talking, it all doesn't work out, then it would be time for a full fledged attack with our own Military and Airforce on the taliban, but till then, at least first clarify what this mad war is all about. 5. For the very intelligent one that says Imran is on US's side... ermm... if he was on US's side, he would be pushing for a full fledged army action against the Taliban, and not Talks!!! 6. Last but not the least, please everyone stop this "DOUBT" that you have against everything that everyone inside and outside Pakistan says. This cultural habit has to Stop. We all doubt everything because we see too much corruption in Pakistan. Well, outside Pakistan there is NOT the same sort of corruption so please stop Doubting the US and Europe, as well as the honest ones in your country... tell me one time when Imran Khan Lied on media!!! He hasn't yet lied, then why doubt him?

Minah Jul 30, 2013 03:45pm

@Sonal: so very right!

Rizwan Jul 30, 2013 06:19pm

To all the people who are just following parties : The biggest injustice that people can be done is when people blindly follow parties . The do not look at policies and rights and wrongs.

Do not follow Idols Just believe in your God and follow the right principles , do not blindly follow any person. Your loyality should be to your country , fellow man and God. Not to political parties. This is called real democracy.

Azeem Jul 30, 2013 08:17pm

Imran says this information provided by Rehman Malik.......which he previously called "JUTHONN KA SARDAR".

When Imran has started believing Rehman Malik........after fall.

Osama Jul 31, 2013 09:29am

@athar: hahahahahaha I think we have a winner here :p

Ch Ali Ahmed Jul 31, 2013 02:53pm

I am so sick and tired of Imran Khan by now. Only talk and no substance, stick to cricket and shut up please! Sports broadcaster is a much more suiting position.

MUSHTAQ Jul 31, 2013 04:23pm

Here come MQM dirty supporters to register their usual sick feelings against KHAN

Khan is above all politicians

M Dawood Jul 31, 2013 05:25pm

oh plz!'re just too much.........such hypocrisy and paranoia doesn

Rufi Jul 31, 2013 08:11pm

@Azeem: Rehman Malik was not interior minister at the time of incident. It was Malik Habib!

Amin Jul 31, 2013 10:38pm

Jinnu Allah rakhay unu kon chakhhay

M aslam Aug 01, 2013 12:18am

@Azeem: From Day one. Actually they were one and the same thing from inside. Only he show different to get the votes from the people who are frustrated by showing a new face.

M aslam Aug 01, 2013 12:20am

It looks that he played a drama in fear of attach, but this drama go a little wrong and he was seriously injured. Otherwise he thought he will get minor injuries and be able to get sympathy votes from the people.

M aslam Aug 01, 2013 12:21am

@Ali: He is favouring only that Talibans who fight in Pakistan against Pakisani people.

M aslam Aug 01, 2013 12:32am

@athar: Media favour him on all occasions since his bosses invested a huge money in media for his favour.

M aslam Aug 01, 2013 12:34am

@Zahid: By the way he is joining hands with Zardari in a few days.