Imran alleges ‘Taseer-style assassination’ plot

PTI chief requests CJP to lead probe into Wazirabad attack


Imran Adnan January 05, 2023
PTI Chairman Imran Khan is addressing a press conference. SCREENGRAB

LAHORE:

 

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan alleged on Thursday the gun attack in Wazirabad on November 3 was actually a plot to assassinate him like the killing of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer in Islamabad 11 years ago.

Addressing the nation via a video link from his Zaman Park residence in the provincial capital, Imran repeated his call on Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to lead a high-level inquiry committee to investigate the assassination attempt on him.

Imran was injured when shots were fired at the container on which he was standing, while leading his anti-government long march towards Islamabad, in Wazirabad town of the Gujarat district on November 3. Imran had received bullet wounds to his leg.

Imran alleged that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led federal government hatched the assassination plot in connivance with the establishment. He accused PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Rana Sannaullah of being behind the conspiracy.

“They tried to eliminate me in the Salmaan Taseer-style murder by giving it the colour of religious extremism,” Imran said, adding that though Nawaz, Shehbaz and Rana Sana were “involved in the assassination attack” they did “not have the guts to do it alone, without support from the establishment”.

The PTI chairman claimed that the Wazirabad attack was, in fact, the ‘plan B’, which was executed after the failure of the initial plan which he had revealed in his two public rallies. “I had received reports from insiders in the agencies that an assassination plan was being made to eliminate me,” he claimed.

Highlighting the sequence of events, Imran pointed out, initially a video alleging that he [Imran] committed some blasphemy on August 24 was spread and efforts were made to instigate the masses against him.

“After the purported video, he added, several PML-N leaders, including Javed Latif, Maryum Nawaz, Rana Sanaullah and Khawaja Asif, held a series of news conferences to instigate the masses against me,” Imran said. “Even the ruling party instructed the state television to run an organised campaign against me,” he added.

Rejecting the confessional statement of the prime suspect, Naveed, the PTI chairman revealed that the joint investigation team (JIT) formed to investigate the attack had found that three shooters were involved “in the well-planned armed attack” and that “a trained shooter” was hired.

While playing a CCTV video clip that showed police recording the statement of the prime suspect, Imran said that the mobile phone of the Gujrat district police officer (DPO) was used to record the “confessional statement of the suspect”, which was later sent to anti-PTI journalists, even before he could reach the hospital.

Later, the suspect was handed over to the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD), which released another statement of the suspect around midnight, he said, adding that the findings of the JIT were also leaked illegally before those were submitted to the court. He said the polygraph tests of the suspect also came back negative.

Requesting the chief justice to investigate the matter, Imran raised a series of questions:

Who ordered to make and release the video claiming blasphemy allegation?
Which institution had influenced the police to not register the FIR [first information report] of the attack on a former prime minister and the head of the country’s largest federal party?

Who ordered the DPO to release confessional statement of the prime suspect?

Who instructed the CTD to give suspect’s statement to a select group of anti-PTI journalists?

Why background of the video was changed?

Who leaked the information from the JIT?

PTI chief claimed that all these departments came under the command of the provincial government “but neither our officers, nor the institutions obeyed orders of the Punjab government” because they were under pressure from a more powerful institution.“There is no rule of law in the country. If a former prime minister could not get justice in the country what would happen to the common man,” he asked. He said that his only hope was the Supreme Court because the powerful people would not allow the investigation into the Wazirabad attack to take place.

Imran said it was baffling how a top institution got involved in the assassination plot, adding that there were “black sheep” in every institute. “The institution is supposed to be the protector and without their support, the attack could not have been possible,” he added.He also castigated the Punjab police and the CTD for not cooperating with the JIT, which was constituted to probe the Wazirabad attack. “Who were the people creating hurdles in the investigation,” he questioned.

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