South Asia

World leaders and public figures condemn attack on Imran Khan

A failed assassination attempt on Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan on Thursday has sparked widespread condemnation by country leaders, organizations and well known personalities.

Imran Khan was wounded in the lower leg when a gunman opened fire on his anti-government protest convoy, in what his aides described as a clear assassination attempt.

Numerous heads of state have condemned the attack, including the White House.

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said he strongly condemns “the firing at Imran Khan’s rally.”

“An immediate report of the incident has been sought from the Interior Minister. We pray for the speedy recovery of Imran and other injured. The Federation will provide all possible support to the Punjab government in the security/investigation of the incident. Violence should have no place in national politics,” Sharif said in a tweet.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the attack on Imran Khan and his supporters is completely unacceptable, and “I strongly condemn this violence.

“It has no place in politics, in any democracy, or in our society. I’m wishing a speedy recovery to Imran and all who were injured today,” Trudeau said in a tweet.

Pakistan President Arif Alvi called it a “heinous assassination attempt” on “brave Imran Khan” and said he has sought immediate reports from authorities.

“I pray for his speedy recovery and of all those injured. My condolences to family of deceased political worker who died during the incident” he added.

Pakistani journalist Tahir Khan told Amu that the perpetrators of the attack will be determined when investigations are completed but PTI leader Asad Umar says that Imran Khan conveyed to him three names who Khan thinks are behind the attack.

“They are PM Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and an ISI officer Major Gen Faisal,” according to Asad Umer, PTI Secretary General. “The attacker in a video says it was his own decision to kill Imran Khan as he was misleading people. PTI has rejected the confessional video,” he said.

Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai also condemned the attack. “Attacks on leaders of any political belief or party are always wrong. And violence is never an acceptable protest,” she wrote on Twitter.

India’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Arindam Bagchi in turn said his country was keeping a close eye on developments “and we’ll continue to monitor ongoing developments.”

Pakistan’s former cricketers Babar Azam and Wasim Akram also condemned the attack.

Saudi Arabia spoke out and said on its Twitter page “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s strong condemnation and denunciation of the attempted assassination of Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan adding that the kingdom stands with Pakistan and the people of Pakistan against all threats to its security and stability.”

The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also expressed its strong condemnation of the assassination attempt.

Long march

At the time of the shooting, Khan had been leading a convoy of thousands of supporters from Lahore to Islamabad calling for snap elections.

The incident took place at about 4:25 pm on Thursday at Allahwala Chowk in Gujranwala.

Khan had been standing on what appeared to be the roof of a container truck, waving to the crowd, when he was shot at. According to police, a suspect has been taken into custody.

Several other people, including PTI leader Faisal Javed and local PTI leader Ahmad Chattha, also sustained injuries, while Gujranwala Hospital sources said one person was killed.