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Pakistani minister accuses Imran Khan of inciting violence after ‘assassination’ attempt

DUBAI: Pakistan’s information minister on Saturday accused former Prime Minister Imran Khan of inciting violence after his political party called a nationwide protest in response to his shooting.

Khan was shot in the leg on Thursday while waving to crowds from a truck-mounted container while leading a protest march to Islamabad from Lahore to pressure the government to announce snap elections.

Khan, the leader of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party, was removed from office in a parliamentary no-confidence motion in April and has since frequently said his ouster was part of a US-backed “foreign conspiracy.” Opponents of Washington and Khan, who are now in power, deny the claim.

Since the shooting, Khan has held three officials responsible: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Inter-Services Intelligence’s director general of counterintelligence, Maj. Gen. Faisal Naseer.

However, he has provided no evidence to back up his accusations, which the government and military have called baseless and irresponsible.

After Khan’s party called on its supporters to mobilize across the country on Saturday to protest what they say was an assassination attempt and demand Sharif’s resignation, Pakistan’s Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the former leader wanted “chaos in the country.”

“It’s absurd, it’s ridiculous to the max,” he told Arab News in a phone interview on Saturday.

“How is the prime minister connected to this incident? Mr. Khan is inciting violence in Pakistan and instigating hate in Pakistan.”

Since the attack took place in the PTI-ruled province of Punjab, Aurangzeb said that Khan had everything he needed (administration, police and intelligence) to conduct an investigation, but had not yet filed even a first information report. , which is the first. he went through the legal process to start an investigation.

“It is a fact that 48 hours have passed since the incident and the FIR report has not been registered at any police station in Punjab,” he said, adding that if he wanted, Khan could ask an international agency, such as the UK. Scotland Yard, to assist in the investigation.

The Pakistani government called for an investigation right after the attack, Aurangzeb said.

“At the time this incident occurred, the Prime Minister of Pakistan called the Home Minister and immediately requested an initial report from the Chief Secretary of Punjab and the IG (Inspector General) in Punjab,” he said.

“And the home minister has been ordered to give all the resources, all the assistance to the Punjab government for whatever investigation they want, for whatever security they want.”

But at a news conference at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital in Lahore on Friday, Khan, sitting in a wheelchair with his legs bandaged, questioned the possibility of an impartial investigation.

“Three people made the plan,” he told reporters, naming Sharif, Sanaullah and Nasser.

“Until these three people resign, how will there be an investigation?”


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