Imran Khan: Pakistan’s Supreme Court orders police to investigate shooting of opposition leader
- Simon Frazer
- BBC News
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered police to launch an immediate investigation into an armed attack on opposition leader Imran Khan.
The former prime minister was shot in the leg last Thursday while leading his supporters in a protest march.
One person was killed and at least 10 injured in the attack on Khan’s motorcade.
Khan accused the current prime minister and interior minister, as well as an army general, of plotting his assassination. They all deny this claim.
The former prime minister said police in Punjab province, where the attack took place, insisted he withdraw his reference to the army officer who holds a senior ISI position before beginning an investigation into Khan’s allegation.
The country’s top judge wanted to know why police hadn’t opened a formal investigation four days after the shooting and gave them 24 hours to do so.
“If the police did not investigate, the evidence may have been destroyed at the scene. In this way, the case’s evidence will be contentious and not admissible in court,” Chief Justice Omar Atta Bendial said.
Khan, 70, is recovering in hospital after being shot at a protest in Wazirabad in the northeast.
Video footage showed him and his supporters standing on top of a container being pulled by a truck before gunshots were heard. Khan is then seen crouching while those around him try to cover him.
One suspect remains in detention but no charges have been brought against him.
The march to the capital, which was taking place at the time of the seventh-day attack, was halted after last week’s gunfire but is set to resume on Tuesday.
Khan, who was ousted from power in a parliamentary no-confidence vote in April, said he would not attend the rally while he recovers from his injuries.
He and his supporters did not renew their call for early elections late next year as planned.
Political unrest in Pakistan comes as the country grapples with an economic crisis and the effects of devastating floods this summer.
The country has a history of political violence since former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in 2007. Many remembered her assassination after the attack on Khan.
The former cricketer-turned-politician who still enjoys widespread support has been at odds with the current government of Shahbaz Sharif for months.
Last month, the Electoral Commission disqualified him from holding public office in a case he said was politicized.
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