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Former Pak PM Imran Khan Shot At Rally: Past of Pakistan’s Political Assassinations And Attacks

Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, was injured Thursday (3 Nov), after shots were fired at his reception camp in the Gujranwala rally. Imran's party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) confirmed that the former PM had been shot in the leg. He added that three other leaders were also injured.

A senior leader of PTI Faisal Javed Khan, one of those who was injured in the incident, said that one of their fellow members has passed away, but Imran Khan was out of danger.

Reacting to the incident, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the firing in Gujranula, Allahwala Chowk, and called for an immediate report on the incident. Sharif directed Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to seek an immediate report from the IG Police and the Chief Secretary of Punjab.

Earlier, Imran Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former prime minister, claimed that his life is in danger.

In light of “serious danger alerts,” Imran Khan showed a letter of threat from America in a public assembly, just as Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto did in a public meeting in Rawalpindi.

Imran Khan launched a nationwide protest campaign when his administration was deposed. In April, a big number of people showed up in Peshawar and Karachi for two consecutive rallies in support of Khan.

“In light of severe threat alerts received from security agencies at the district and provincial levels, it was recommended that ex-prime minister Imran Khan address the public gathering virtually via video conference and LED display rather than making a physical appearance on April 21 at Greater Iqbal Park in Lahore,” according to the statement.

Assassins and Attacks

The South Asian country’s history has been turbulent, with multiple political leaders assassinated since the country’s founding in 1947. Imran Khan is the most recent to have claimed to be a target of assassination attempts.

Liaqat Ali Khan

Pakistan’s first Prime Minister, Liaqat Ali Khan, was assassinated in the Company Baugh of Rawalpindi on the stage that was later named Liaqat Bagh.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

Another staunch leader of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was hanged by General Zia-ul Haq’s military administration. He was hanged only a short distance from Liaqat Baugh. Nine years after he was hanged, Zia Ul Haq died in a plane accident. Some believe it was a murder.

bhutto

Despite strong security and death threats, the nation had witnessed the savage killing of Pakistan’s two-time Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, in the same city. According to the media reports, her husband refused to perform a postmortem on her body. While everyone understands that a post-mortem is essential for determining the cause of death, it was not done in the instance of Benazir Bhutto, and her killers were never apprehended.

Musharraf

In 2003, General Musharraf survived an elimination attempt when a powerful bomb went off minutes after his highly-guarded convoy crossed a bridge in Rawalpindi. Musharraf was apparently saved by a jamming device in his limousine that prevented the remote-controlled explosives from blowing up the bridge as his convoy passed over it.

In 2007, General Musharraf escaped yet another attempt on his life when around 36 rounds were fired at his aircraft from a submachine gun at Rawalpindi.

Pakistan’s political history is thus littered with numerous patches of flux and turmoil.

What’s next for Pakistan?

The leader of PTI in Lahore, Sheikh Imtiaz Mehmood asked: “all workers and the public to immediately reach Liberty Chowk (in Lahore) to protest the cowardly murderous attack on Chairman Imran Khan”.

It is likely that more violence may follow, which might prompt the military — which is the only functional institution in Pakistan right now — to step in. The generals may choose to exercise a range of options from martial law to an outright takeover.

Imran has been constantly baiting the army for months now, openly challenging them, and after the shooting, his party colleague Shireen Mazari tweeted that the “string pullers” and “the Establishment” would be “held responsible by the nation”.

There seems to be a huge crisis in Pakistan because this conflict can go anywhere.

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