THE container which was targeted in Wazirabad stands cordoned off, while bullet holes are clearly visible in the fence surrounding its roof.—Dawn
THE container which was targeted in Wazirabad stands cordoned off, while bullet holes are clearly visible in the fence surrounding its roof.—Dawn

LAHORE: The leadership of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) appeared unfazed by the assassination attempt on former premier Imran Khan, who was hospitalised after an injury to his legs but later vowed to continue with his party’s long march towards Islamabad.

The attack on Mr Khan prompted strong protests across the country, with senior PTI leadership stepping forward to express solidarity with the party chief and a dozen more party supporters wounded in the attack near Wazirabad on Thursday.

In a tweet, senior party leader Asad Umar said the rulers could not stop Imran Khan, so “the cowards tried to martyr him”. He added: “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].”

Another PTI senior leader, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, posted on Twitter, “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.”

In his tweet, PTI leader Ali Mohammad Khan urged the Supreme Court to take notice of the attack on the party chairman. He said that the government was responsible for the security of the former premier and participants of the long march and that the PTI would not rest until the suspects involved in the assassination bid were arrested.

Yasmin Rashid, president of PTI’s Punjab chapter, tweeted: “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.”

PTI leader Omar Ayub Khan said the PTI would not step back, as it was “not afraid of the cowards’ attacks”. PTI General Secretary Hammad Azhar and Information Secretary Andleeb Abbas also condemned the attempt on Imran Khan’s life, saying the attack on the peaceful ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’ march was in fact an “attack on 220 million Pakistanis”.

They said the march could not be stopped by any tactic, as the nation “led by Imran Khan has come out on roads for its real freedom and that peaceful protest is the right of the PTI”. They said the life of the party chairman was saved in the attack because of the prayers of the masses who were standing with the PTI.

The PTI leaders also questioned the narrative that only one shooter — who was apprehended — was involved in the attack on the former prime minister and hinted towards a “larger conspiracy” to eliminate the party chief.

As per Dawn.com, PTI leader Ali Haider Zaidi alleged that there was not just “one shooter” behind the attack on Mr Khan. He also said that if former PTI leader Faisal Vawda had information about the talk, he should be included in the FIR. “Don’t try to deter us. It is going to be a shutdown across the country,” he said.

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry has said that the attack on Mr Khan was a “well-planned assassination attempt”. “It was not 9mm [pistol], it was burst from an automatic weapon, no two opinions about that it was a narrow escape,” he tweeted. In another tweet, he said their movement would continue till the announcement of snap elections.

CM Punjab visits Imran

Separately, Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi visited Imran Khan at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital in Lahore and expressed serious concern at the incident.

He also expressed his resolve that the accused involved in the incident would be brought in a court of law.

PTI leaders Asad Umar and Mian Aslam Iqbal, in a video statement, said Imran Khan had named three officials himself, while Aslam Iqbal said that the PTI would approach the police to register a case against the said officials.

The PTI leader quoted Imran Khan as saying that he had been receiving reports about the attack, based on which he was saying that the murderous attack was allegedly executed at the behest of the said officials.

Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2022

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