Police in Pakistan’s Punjab province on November 8, 2022 registered an FIR in the assassination attempt on former Prime Minister Imran Khan, days after the incident, and named the assailant who was taken into custody as the prime accused in the case.
The move comes after the Supreme Court on November 7, 2022 ordered the provincial government to file an FIR in the assassination bid on Mr. Khan within 24 hours.
The FIR named the assailant, Naveed Mohammad Basheer, as the prime accused. However, it does not mention the names of Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and a senior Pakistan Army official Major General Faisal Naseer, three people who Khan had accused of hatching a plot to assassinate him.
“We are going to challenge the FIR in the apex court,” a senior leader of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party Fawad Chaudhry said.
The delay in getting a case registered in Punjab province, which has PTI at the helm, has raised eyebrows.
“I wonder if I, being the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, can’t get an FIR registered regarding an attack on me, what will happen to the common man,” he said. On Sunday, Mr. Khan said that an FIR has not been registered on the botched “assassination attempt” on his life as authorities are refusing to file the case unless he removes an Army general’s name from the complaint.
Punjab police said it has registered the FIR on the direction of the Supreme Court and nominated the suspect, Naveed, under Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, and Section 302, 324, and 440 of the Pakistan Penal Code.
Police said they nabbed Basheer from the crime scene after confessed to his crime. In a confessional video, Basheer said he attacked Khan because he was “misleading the public.” Mr. Khan, 70, suffered bullet injuries in the right leg on Thursday when two gunmen fired a volley of bullets at him and others mounting on a container-mounted truck in the Wazirabad area of Punjab province, where he was leading a protest march against the Shehbaz Sharif government.
“I was hit by 4 bullets,” Mr. Khan said in his address to the nation from a hospital in Lahore on November 4, a day after he was shot during a rally in Punjab province.
He underwent surgery for the gunshot wounds at the Shaukat Khanum Hospital owned by his charitable organisation.
The former cricketer-turned-politician, who underwent surgery, was discharged from the hospital on Sunday and moved to his private residence in the city, hospital officials said.
Mr. Khan’s march to the federal capital, demanding fresh elections, was suspended after the shooting last week.
Senior PTI leader Faisal Javed Khan said the march will resume on November 10 from Wazirabad.
Mr. Khan, ousted from power in a parliamentary vote of no confidence in April, says he will not join it while he recovers from his injuries.
The federal government led by Shehbaz Sharif has rejected Khan’s demand for fresh elections, which are due only after August next year.
The political turmoil in Pakistan comes as it reels from the economic crisis and the effects of devastating floods.