Imran Khan Supporters Protest As Gunshot Escalates Tensions In Pakistan: On Friday, a group of demonstrators burnt wood and screamed slogans as police officers armed with teargas rushed into position near an intersection connecting Islamabad with its twin city of Rawalpindi.
As the two groups got closer, the protestors started throwing stones at the police, prompting the officers to retaliate with tear gas. Soon after that, the demonstrators dispersed, and the police reopened the intersection.
Imran Khan Supporters Protest As Gunshot Escalates Tensions In Pakistan!
It was one of many brief flashpoints in cities across Pakistan, including Lahore and Karachi, as fans of Imran Khan took to the streets following an attempt on the life of the country’s former prime leader.
One person was killed and at least ten were injured in Thursday’s attack on Khan’s convoy, upping the stakes dramatically in the political turmoil that has gripped the south Asian nation since Khan was deposed in April.
While confined to a wheelchair in a Lahore hospital on Friday, Khan made a rambling speech in which he accused his successor Shehbaz Sharif, the interior minister Rana Sanaullah, and a senior army commander of plotting his assassination. In his first public appearance since Thursday’s incident, Khan declared, “These three decided to assassinate me.” He also said that two gunmen were involved.
He presented no proof to support his accusations, and the administration has denied responsibility, instead placing the blame on a gunman motivated by religious extremism. Sharif, at the head of a coalition of parties, successfully ousted Khan from power in April through a vote in parliament.
Ali Sher, a high school senior at the time, was one of the protesters who shouted, “What do we want? Rawalpindi’s “Freedom” rally on Friday. He held up a flag depicting Khan and stated, “We want freedom from corrupt politicians and we won’t leave until Shehbaz Sharif resigns.”
Sher, following in Khan’s footsteps, blamed Sharif for the incident, calling it “an act of political terrorism” designed to remove Khan from office. They targeted him for death, but Sher reassured everyone that “his attack will not destroy our will for freedom.”
Hammad Azhar (@Hammad_Azhar ) speaks to @AlJazeera regarding assassination attempt on Imran Khan. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/pS7FXTn2DN
— PTI (@PTIofficial) November 4, 2022
Former cricket legend Khan, now 70 years old, has been leading a campaign convoy of thousands from Lahore to Islamabad over the past week. Khan was checking out the scene as his customized container truck made its way slowly through a dense crowd in Wazirabad, roughly 105 miles east of Islamabad.
On Friday he called again for new elections, saying, “The revolution will come whether with peace or with murder…” As soon as I am fully well again, I will issue a call for the march on Islamabad.
Khan claimed that he was shot four times; once in each leg. A doctor who was present at the time told Khan that he had been shot four times in the legs, twice in the right thigh, and once in the left thigh, breaking his left tibia.
Noor Khan, a shopkeeper from Nowshera who made the long journey to Rawalpindi to take part in the demonstration, stated, “I do not know much about politics but… The Pakistani politician Imran Khan is always correct, therefore I do what he says. I don’t give a damn about my own safety, so long as Khan is around.
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To cast out this administration and oppose what happened to Khan, I traveled all the way here from Nowshera.
Protesters in the eastern city of Lahore torched tires and shut down key thoroughfares. The crowd also gathered outside the provincial governor of Punjab’s heavily guarded office and hurled rocks at the gate, breaking down the barriers and security cameras.
Peshawar, in the northwest, and Karachi, in the south, both saw roadblocks caused by protesters. Khan has been campaigning for early elections ever since he was pushed out of office.
After being barred from public office in Pakistan for five years for illegally selling state gifts and failing to disclose assets, he began a march to the capital city of Islamabad last week. He appealed his disqualification and is now waiting for a ruling.
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Elections will take place in 2023 as planned, and the Sharif government has made that very clear.
Both the United States and Pakistan‘s powerful military have denied any involvement in Khan’s April removal from power. Another Khan supporter in Rawalpindi, Shah Khalid, said that the military should stay out of politics.
He argued that “civil supremacy” was necessary for the country. The people of this country, and not secret plots and the armed forces, should choose its future. Enough has been spoken.
An unnamed soldier stationed at the protest site from Pakistan’s border who was there to maintain order recommended that Khan and Sharif meet down and negotiate to “stabilize” the situation. He recommended that they try to find common ground and make amends. This craziness has to end.
This article was co-written by Agence France-Presse and Reuters.
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