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Muslims’ anger against Rushdie understandable: Imran

Former prime minister Imran Khan has condemned the knife attack on controversial writer Salman Rushdie, saying the anger of Muslims against the author was understandable but it still didn’t justify the attack, The Guardian reported on Friday. “I think it is terrible, sad,” Imran told the newspaper in a comment on the violent attack that put Rushdie on a ventilator.

“Rushdie understood, because he came from a Muslim family. He knows the love, respect, reverence of a prophet that lives in our hearts. He knew that. So the anger I understood, but you can’t justify what happened,” the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman was quoted by the newspaper as saying. The author sustained severe injuries in the attack, including nerve damage in his arm, wounds to his liver, and the likely loss of an eye, his agent said. But his condition has been improving since the weekend, and he had been taken off the ventilator.

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Imran also spoke about the political victimisation of the PTI, highlighting, in particular, the alleged torture of his fellow party leader Shahbaz Gill – who was arrested on charges of sedition earlier this month and according to Imran, beaten and “psychologically broken”. “Gill was targeted because he had said army officers should not obey unlawful commands,” the British newspaper reported.

“They are forcing him to say that I was the one who told him to say that,” the former prime minister said. “What they’re doing to Gill is sending a message to everyone,” he said. “And they have scared our workers. Social media activists have been picked up and we have a very vibrant social media. They’re trying to sort of intimidate the people.”

“In my time, we never tried to oppress the media. The only problem was that sometimes the … security agencies – three or four times we found out that picked someone up and immediately when we found out we would immediately have them released,” he said.



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