‘Three shooters’ involved in attack on Imran Khan, party leader alleges

Prime suspect Muhammad Naveed, who was captured after he opened fire on Imran Khan, was to be eliminated by another shooter.

Lahore: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and the Punjab government on Wednesday said that “three shooters” were sent to kill former prime minister Imran Khan as the pattern of former premier Liaquat Ali Khan’s assassination was followed.

In a joint press conference here, Punjab Home Minister Omar Sarfraz Cheema and PTI’s senior leader Fawad Chaudhry said the joint investigation team (JIT) probing the November 3 gun attack on Khan had found that “at least three shooters were sent to assassinate Khan, who received three bullets in his leg”.

Chaudhry said the assassination plan was similar to that of Pakistan’s first prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan, who was shot twice in the chest while addressing a gathering in Rawalpindi in 1951. His assassin was also gunned down by police on the spot.

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“Prime suspect Muhammad Naveed, who was captured after he opened fire on Imran Khan, was to be eliminated by another shooter. A PTI worker who was shot dead standing near Naveed received the bullets of that shooter who in fact missed his target (Naveed). Three different weapons were used as there were many shooters in the attack,” Chaudhry claimed.

Chaudhry further said police were still looking for the “two shooters”. However, the JIT has recovered 14 bullets from the ground, 12 in one building, nine from one site, and seven from another.

He said the 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician was hit by three bullets during his party’s rally in the Wazirabad area of Punjab province, some 150 kilometers from Lahore, on November 3.

A total of 13 people suffered bullet injuries. “Imran Khan was hit by three bullets from the gun of Naveed, according to a forensic laboratory. No bullet was fired from Khan’s guards as was propagated by the PML-N leaders,” he said.

Both the minister and the former information minister termed the Gujrat senior police officer’s role in the case as “a dubious one”.

The district police officer (DPO) Gujrat was to make arrangements for Khan’s security during the PTI rally in Wazirabad, but “these were inadequate”, Chaudhry said.

He alleged that the DPO gave a camera to the station house officer to record the statement of suspect Naveed before Khan was taken to the hospital after the attack.

“The DPO refused to appear before the JIT and also did not submit his cell phone to it for forensic order. The JIT wants to know from whom the DPO was taking directions (an apparent reference to the military establishment),” he said.

Naveed had told the police that he wanted to kill Khan because the music was played during the Azan time in his long march/rally.

On Wednesday, an anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala extended Naveed’s physical remand for another six days.

The court also extended the remand of his cousin Muhammad Waqas for 12 days.

Khan had blamed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, and Major General Faisal Naseer of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for hatching a plot to assassinate him.

The Punjab police had registered the FIR in connection with the assassination attempt on Khan but didn’t mention the high-profile suspects, including ISI’s top man, who Khan held responsible for the attack.

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