Imran Khan says 'there is still a threat' to his life

Says the arrested assailant was merely a decoy serving interests of state-level conspiracy: will take more precautions but march will go on: Denies backtracking on his claim that US was involved in his govt’s ouster

By: News Desk
Published: 09:36 AM, 17 Nov, 2022
Imran Khan says 'there is still a threat' to his life
Caption: Video grab.
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PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan has expressed the fear that he could be attacked again in the near future.

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Imran Khan reacted to the November 3 assassination attempt against him at a protest rally in Wazirabad, during which he was shot in the leg. 

Officially, the gunman is believed to have acted alone, but Imran Khan said he suspected the assailant was merely a decoy serving the interests of a state-level conspiracy.

He directly accused current top Pakistani government leaders, saying they feel threatened by his party's popularity in view of the next elections in the country. 

Imran Khan also said he feared he could be attacked again in the near future: "They think that the only way to get me out of the way is actually [to] eliminate me. So, I think that there is a threat, still."

Imran Khan told FRANCE 24 he was convinced that the recent attack on him was an assassination plot hatched by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the interior minister and a senior intelligence officer. He claimed that the suspect arrested was merely a decoy and that there was another gunman at the rally in the eastern city of Wazirabad. 

Imran Khan said he only trusted the chief justice of Pakistan to conduct an independent investigation, arguing that any other probe would be sabotaged by the interior minister.

“There is no way of me getting proper justice if these three people remain in their seats," he added.

The former premier said he feared further attempts on his life but vowed to rejoin the anti-government march. He said he would take "more precautions" but vowed to carry on regardless of the risks, insisting that the protest march would remain peaceful. He said the only solution was free and fair elections, stressing that his party was certain to win them.

To a question, Imran Khan denied having backtracked on his claim that he was toppled as part of a collusion between the US and the Pakistani elite. He stressed there was indeed evidence that the US administration wanted to oust him, saying that a diplomatic cable proved his claim and that the issue was now in the hands of the chief justice. However, he said he didn't want to go against the interests of the people of Pakistan by antagonising a superpower.

Responding to a question, Imran Khan said that a press conference by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief was 'unadvisable'. “I don’t want to damage my institutions because Pakistan needs a strong Army. The press conference was very unadvisable," he said and added that the ISI chief should not be conducting a news conference.

Imran Khan said that if he responded to the press conference point by point, the Army's institution would be undermined, adding that he does not wish to do so as Pakistan needed a strong defence.

The PTI chief said that he believed the press conference was also a reaction to the murder of senior journalist Arshad Sharif, who, according to him, was presenting his point of view. "He [Arshad Sharif] had been threatened with death after which he left the country and was later assassinated in Kenya," he said.

Imran claimed that after the murder, there were a "huge public backlash" and people cast fingers at the establishment, adding that the press conference was more to appease the public perception.

Categories : Pakistan