The whole country fell into panic as soon as the news of the attack on former premier Imran Khan at a long march rally in Wazirabad broke. Khan and his close aides, Faisal Javaid Khan, Imran Ismail, and Ahmad Chattha, were injured, and one of his supporters lost his life. He was shot in the right leg and taken to Shaukat Khanum Hospital in Lahore for treatment. One of the supporters valiantly got hold of the shooter and disarmed him, and others seized him. It was reported that there were two shooters, one with an automatic weapon and the other with a pistol. One of them escaped, while the other was taken into custody by the police. The federal government urged the Punjab Police to cordon off the area where the shooting took place and seal Imran Khan’s container.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari condemned the attack on their arch-rival and called for swift action to bring the perpetrators to justice. Members and supporters of PTI are pointing fingers at many institutions of the state for this attack. Some have also named certain ministers as being behind this shooting; however, there is no concrete evidence available yet. The shooter, who was caught and is now in police custody, said that Khan was misleading people, and that is why he attacked him. He also added that he acted alone.
Imran Khan’s long march and rallies have always been peaceful, as the former prime minister always instructs his supporters not to indulge in bloodshed and to remain as calm as possible. Other than the disorganization, PTI’s rallies have remained peaceful. However, after their leader was shot, Imran Khan’s supporters blocked roads and burned tires. The former premier has never sanctioned such behaviour.
The attack on the former prime minister is highly condemnable. Even if the shooter claimed that he was working alone, prior evidence suggests that some people could be involved in this event. On the face of it, all political rivals have poured in their prayers for the speedy recovery of the PTI leader; however, some malaise can be identified. The issue, however, is not who was behind the attack, as it could be anyone. The real problem is that in a democratic country, a former prime minister was attacked in broad daylight only because he was protesting against the government. Today it was Imran Khan; tomorrow it could be anyone else. It is necessary to properly investigate and punish those who are behind the shooting. Had the person in the crowd not stopped the shooter, the news stories could have been quite different, and Pakistan cannot afford such a tragedy at the moment.
In a democracy, all citizens have the right to protest, and no one can stop them from doing so. Khan is holding a peaceful protest, and he must not be sabotaged like this. Such precedents must not by by anyone, as this will only make Pakistan an even more backward country that has no regard for the law or human life. Those who believe that killing a person for his political ideology will only aid in the downfall of the country. This attack must be fully investigated, and the perpetrators should be brought to justice. The country is not a lawless anarchy where anyone and everyone can take a human life.