December 4, 2022

Islamabad, Pakistan CNN —

Tensions in Pakistan escalated on Friday as former Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed establishment figures for a conspiracy to assassinate him – a claim government and security officials have vigorously denied.

A day later, after surviving a shooting at a political rally outside the city of Gujranwala in Punjab province, Khan delivered a rambling speech at a hospital in the city of Lahore, where he was recovering from the injuries he sustained. While in a wheelchair, the cricket star-turned-politician cited three senior figures as behind the attack.

The former Pakistani leader has fractured his right leg from gunshot wounds, said Dr. Faisal Sultan told reporters. Sultan showed X-rays showing the fracture in Khan’s right leg, as well as bullet fragments lodged in two sides of his thigh.

Without presenting any evidence, Khan accused Prime Minister Shabaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Major General Faisal, a senior intelligence official. CNN is reaching out to the three men for comment.

Khan first claimed on Thursday that the trio were responsible for the conspiracy, in a statement shared by senior PTI leader Asad Umar, who said he spoke to Khan recently.

In a televised address on Thursday, Sanaullah denied the allegation, calling it “serious.”

Pakistan’s military media wing condemned Khan’s claims on Friday, calling them “baseless and irresponsible allegations” and threatening legal action.

“No one can with impunity defame the institution or its soldiers. Against this background, the Government of Pakistan has been urged to investigate the matter and take legal action against those responsible for defamation and false accusations against the institution and its officials without any evidence,” Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. .

Khan had said he knew about the plot to kill him a day before and claimed two gunmen were involved in his attack.

“There was a burst from one side and another from the front. It was two people,” Khan said when discussing the attack.

Khan has aligned himself with the government since his dramatic ouster in a no-confidence vote in April. During this time he has repeatedly claimed, without any evidence, that the United States was behind his fall from power.

One person died in Thursday’s attack, which injured several others and sparked protests among Khan’s supporters.

Video of the alleged attack shows Khan waving from an open truck as gunshots ring out and his party members duck for cover.

A bullet hit Khan in the leg, said Asad Umar, the senior leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who later added: “Yes, he was shot, there were pellets in his leg, his bone was chipped, he was hit also shot in the thigh.”

A man suspected of shooting at the rally was arrested Thursday, police said.

On Thursday, Pakistan’s Information Ministry released a video of a confession by an unnamed man who it claims carried out the attack.

Khan urged citizens to protest the three officers he claims planned his attack until they resign.

“As long as these three men don’t resign, you must protest injustice, you must wage jihad against them, jihad is to stand against injustice,” Khan said on Friday.

Khan said that once he recovers from his gun attack, he will continue his so-called Long March to Islamabad calling for early elections. It was on the seventh day of the nationwide tour, which started in Lahore on October 28 and was due to end in Islamabad after winding through several Pakistani cities.

It is among a series of rallies the former Pakistan cricket captain has held since his fall in April.

Thursday’s incident is not the first time 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.

Correction: This story has been updated to correctly reflect the statements made by the Pakistani authorities.