Islamabad, Pakistan – A top Pakistani judge, citing an intelligence report, says the life of former Prime Minister Imran Khan is at risk due to fears of another assassination attempt on the politician.
Aamer Farooq, the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court, made the remarks on Friday while hearing a petition filed by a traders’ body over road closures in the national capital during political protests.
Earlier this month, Khan, 70, was shot in the leg by an attacker in the city of Wazirabad while holding a “long march” to Islamabad to demand immediate elections.
A supporter of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was killed and more than a dozen others wounded in the attack, forcing the party to suspend its march.
The cricketing icon-turned-politician accused Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and military officer General Faisal Naseer of plotting the attack.
Khan did not provide any evidence for his allegations, which were rejected by the government and the army. The suspect was arrested and is being interrogated by the police.
During the hearing on Friday, the police presented before the court an intelligence report which suggested there is a possibility of another attack on Khan once he rejoins the march to Islamabad.
Judge Farooq also asked the PTI to submit a new application to seek permission to hold its rally in Islamabad. He urged the police to ensure the security of the marchers when they reach the city.
Khan, who is recuperating from his bullet wound at his residence in Lahore, has been addressing the marchers through a video link after the “long march” resumed on November 10.
He is expected to rejoin the march when it reaches Rawalpindi later this week.
Since his removal from power in April this year after losing a vote of confidence in parliament, Khan has been holding rallies across Pakistan to press the government to call early elections, otherwise due late next year.
The PTI chief blamed his removal on a “foreign conspiracy” hatched by the United States in collusion with his political opponents and his detractors in the powerful military. Islamabad and Washington have repeatedly denied the charges.
However, in a recent interview to the British newspaper Financial Times, Khan made a U-turn, saying he was willing to move on from the controversy.
“As far as I am concerned, it’s over, it’s behind me. The Pakistan I want to lead must have good relationships with everyone, especially the United States,” he said.