Asad Umar, a close aide of former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, said the the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) boss named three persons as suspects behind Thursday’s attack on him during a rally in the country’s Punjab province.
Several people, including Khan and senior party leaders, were injured in the attack, in what is being called a “heinous assassination attempt” on the cricketing star-turned-politician.
One person, a PTI worker, was reportedly killed after a gunman opened fire at the anti-government protest convoy at Wazirabad in Punjab. Khan is out of danger.
In a video message, Umar said that Khan called them from hospital and asked them to convey the message to the nation on his behalf. He said that he had received some information earlier as well.
The three men Khan named as suspects were Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan’s interior minister Rana Sanaullah and major general Faisal Naseer. He said they should be immediately removed from their current positions.
“He said that he believes three people were involved in the attack – Shehbaz Sharif, Rana Sanaullah and Major General Faisal. He said he was receiving information and saying this on that basis,” Umar, who was accompanied by PTI leader Mian Aslam Iqbal, said in the video.
The Pakistan government earlier issued a statement that Sharif had ordered the interior minister to seek an immediate report on the incident from the IGP and chief secretary of Punjab.
He also issued a statement condemning “in strongest words” the firing on the PTI chairman. “I have directed Interior Minister for an immediate report on the incident. I pray for the recovery and health of PTI chairman & other injured people.”
Stating violence should have no place in Pakistan’s politics, Sharif said the federal government will extend all support necessary to Punjab government for security and investigation.
Khan, who was shot at in his shin, was leading a chaotic convoy of thousands towards capital Islamabad, demanding fresh elections. He was ousted from office in April.
“This was an attempt to kill him, to assassinate him,” senior aide, Raoof Hasan, told AFP.
While Khan escaped with a bullet wound to his right calf, several PTI officials were hit by the spray of gunfire aimed at their modified container truck as it slowly drove through a thick crowd near Gujranwala.