Thursday, November 03, 2022
GUJRANWALA: The suspect who has confessed to shooting PTI Chairman Imran Khan and other leaders of his party at a protest convoy has said he tried to assassinate the former prime minister because "he was misleading the people."
A bullet went through Khan's shin after being shot at by an apparently lone shooter Thursday when his long march entered Wazirabad, Gujranwala district. Khan's party says it was obviously a bid on his life. The attacker has confessed to taking a shot at Khan's life in a video released after his arrest.
“I could not stand it … and tried to kill Imran Khan. I tried … I tried my best to kill Khan and only Khan and not anyone else,” said the shooter, who was collared by the police near the shooting scene.
“I thought they were violating [the sanctity of] Azaan by playing loud music [on their sound system]. My conscience could not deal with it and I took action.”
When asked whether it was an involuntary action or premeditated, the shooter first said it was a "spontaneous decision" that he took on the spot.
He then modified his statement and said no “I decided to do it this morning”. However, in the third version of his statement, the gunman said he had planned to shoot Khan since his departure from Lahore. “And I will not spare him,” the suspect added.
When asked who was supporting him, the shooter denied association with any group or political party.
“Praise the Lord, I acted alone. I did not have anyone to back me up for the shooting."
The gunman is in police custody and being interrogated for further clues.
Khan, 70, ousted as prime minister in April, was six days into a miles-long protest procession, standing and waving to thousands of cheering supporters from the roof of a container truck when the shots rang out.
Meanwhile, Ibtisam, the man who pinned down the shooter preventing further damage, said the attacker did not come prepared.
“He shot just once. The pistol was automatic and set to the burst mode so the shooting did not stop until the clip was empty.”
Ibtisam, who shot to a hero's status, regretted failing to stop the shooter before he pulled the trigger.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb condemned the attack on Khan in Gujranwala, demanding a thorough investigation into the incident.
“The incident is very unfortunate and condemnable. It should not be politicised and speculations must be avoided,” she said while addressing a press conference in the capital.
Marriyum said the Punjab Police as well as the administration and other relevant departments should bring forth the facts after investigating the incident which occurred within the jurisdiction of the Punjab government.
She said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had sought a preliminary report on the matter, while Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah was in constant contact with the Inspector-General and Chief Secretary Punjab.
The minister said the federal government would extend all-out cooperation to the Punjab government in this regard.
“We are waiting for the report of the Punjab government over the incident,” she added.
She advised the media to avoid speculation on the incident which was sensitive in nature. "Speculations on such matters might lead to violence," she added.
The media needed to act in a responsible way and should only publish those facts which were shared by the provincial government and Punjab police, she stressed, adding that verified information would be shared with the media as soon as received.
Marriyum also prayed for the early recovery of PTI leader Senator Faisal Javed who was seriously injured in the shooting.