Imran Khan escapes unhurt, as shorts fired at anti-govt protesters
ISLAMABAD: Thousands of anti-government protesters,
determined to unseat Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, marched towards the capital
in flag-waving convoys as clashes erupted in Gujranwala city after gun shots
were fired at the vehicle of cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.
Two opposition groups, led by Khan and Canada-based
cleric Tahirul Qadri, plan to converge on Islamabad to press Sharif to call an
early election little over a year after his landslide victory in the polls.
Shots were fired at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief’s
vehicle but he was not injured, Imran Khan’s spokeswoman Aneela Khan said. The
convoy was also attacked in Gujranwala by a stone-throwing mob and police did
not intervene, she said.
Confirming the incident of firing at Imran’s convoy,
Awami Muslim League leader Sheikh Rasheed said they were attacked four times,
and alleged that everything happened in the presence of police. He also alleged
that this happened on the orders of Sharif.
Imran Khan said it was the PML-N activists who were
standing above a police van and pelting stones at his supporters. Television
pictures showed people tearing up posters featuring Khan’s party and clashing
with his supporters.
The anti-government protesters of both the groups plan
a mass rally in Islamabad to press their claims, at the end of a “long march” —
which set off on a 370-km journey to the country’s capital on Thursday.
Khan initiated his ‘Azadi March’ from Zaman Park,
Lahore, while Qadri launched his ‘Inqelab March’ (revolution march) from the
Model Town area of the city. Khan’s march had reached the industrial town of
Gujranwala, about 70 kilometres north of Lahore.