Islamabad – Pakistan’s ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan was shot in the foot at a rally Thursday, according to an official from his party, which said the incident was an assassination attempt.
A bullet hit Khan in his foot after an unidentified gunman opened fire, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Asad Umar said.
The former Pakistan cricket captain was taken from the rally site just outside the town of Gujranwala to receive treatment in Lahore. At least three other people were injured by gunfire. The extent of the other injuries is not yet known.
On October 21, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) recommended that Khan be disqualified from holding political office for five years, a move likely to further inflame political tensions in the country.
While reading out the recommendation, ECP chief Sikandar Sultan Raja stated that Khan was disqualified for being involved in “corrupt practices.”
The commission said its decision was based on the grounds that Khan had “made false statements” regarding the declaration of the sale of gifts sent to him by the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Dubai while in office – an offense that is illegal under the country’s constitution.
Khan was unseated in a vote of no-confidence in April, following claims of bad governance and economic mismanagement.
Since then he has repeatedly claimed, without providing any evidence, that the United States had orchestrated his ouster. Khan’s allegations have become a staple at rallies he has held across Pakistan in a bid to return to power.
His claims have struck a chord with a young population in a country where anti-American sentiment runs high, and anti-establishment feelings are being fueled by a rising cost of living crisis.
This is not the first time that Pakistani politicians have been attacked.
Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007, and then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani survived an assassination attempt in 2008.