By Amjad Ali
Islamabad, Nov 3 (EFE).- An unidentified shooter opened fire on a crowded rally led by former prime minister Imran Khan on Thursday, killing at least one person and injuring nine others, including the cricketer-turned-politician, police said.
The incident, which came as a grim reminder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s 2007 assassination, occurred in eastern Punjab province’s Wazirabad, almost 200 km (120 miles) from the capital Islamabad.
“One person was killed and nine others were injured in the attack (on Khan’s rally),” police officer Nadeem Abbas, who was on duty at the long march, told EFE.
According to the officer, the attacker was apprehended and turned over to the police.
Senator Faisal Javed, Khan’s aide, stated in a video message that the ex-prime minister had received gunshot wounds and was being transferred to a hospital in Lahore.
Javed, who was riding with Khan in a vehicle at the time of the attack, was covered in blood.
The former prime minister, who was deposed in an April no-confidence vote, is spearheading a long march from Lahore to Islamabad to put pressure on the government to hold early elections.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif condemned the firing and asked federal Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah for a report.
“I condemn the incident of firing on PTI chairman Imran Khan in the strongest words. I have directed (the) interior minister for an immediate report on the incident,” the prime minister tweeted.
President Arif Alvi said the “attack is shocking, alarming, disgraceful, deceitful and cowardly.”
The injured, including Khan, have been taken to hospitals.
“Khan has suffered a bullet injury. It is not critical. He is stable. He is injured in the leg,” PTI leader Assad Umar told ARY news in a live broadcast.
“Khan is changing Pakistan and they have stooped this low,” he said, alleging it was an attempt to assassinate the politician ousted from power in April.
He did not specify who was behind the assassination attempt.
Umar said he was near the spot at the time of the firing incident but was inside a truck bound for Islamabad as part of the roadshow that began on Friday from Lahore.
Rescuers rushed Khan, 70, into another car, allegedly with a bandage on his leg, footage from the scene showed.
More video clips from the incident showed a man interrupting the suspected shooter and deflecting his handgun as the attacker pointed the weapon toward Khan.
The attacker still managed to fire multiple shots before the crowd overpowered him.
Footage on social media showed people beating the attacker.