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‘Bullet caused nerve damage with a lasting effect': Imran Khan talks about assassination bid aftermath

India Today 3/31/2023 India Today World Desk
‘Bullet caused nerve damage with a lasting effect': Imran Khan talks about assassination bid aftermath © Provided by India Today ‘Bullet caused nerve damage with a lasting effect': Imran Khan talks about assassination bid aftermath

Pakistan's ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan, who sustained severe injuries after a gunman with an automatic pistol sprayed three bullets into his legs at a political rally five months ago, is back on the campaign trail. The former cricket superstar addressed a rally in Lahore on Saturday for the first time since November's attack and spoke from behind a bulletproof screen.

In an interview with The Independent, Khan revealed that his right leg had suffered potentially long-lasting damage as a result of the assassination bid. While the two bullet wounds to his thigh have healed, a third shattered his shin bone and damaged the nerve.

"I have had more problems with the impact of the nerve damage than the bullet wounds," he said. "I still can't walk properly, I still don't have proper sensation in my right foot. That's a lasting effect, which the doctor says eventually, with time, will heal, will go away."

Despite still being in the process of recovering, Khan and his PTI party should already be gearing up for the upcoming key election for control of Punjab, which happens to be the most populous state in Pakistan, and is scheduled for 30 April.

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However, due to the current state of inflation and the massive protests in support of Khan, the election commission suspended the vote until October, which coincides with the general election. During his speech, Khan accused the government of corruption, intimidation, and conspiring against him during last year's no-confidence motion.

The government has denied these allegations and insists that Khan is using them to rally support for his attempted return to power. As a charismatic speaker who has a natural ability to connect with his fervent supporters, Khan expressed his dissatisfaction with campaigning behind a screen that makes it difficult to gauge his audience's reaction. He has been compared to Donald Trump in the past due to their similar styles of whipping up crowds with catchy phrases and aggressive rhetoric, which some critics argue can border on hostility.

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Khan has faced numerous legal cases since his ouster, including one for allegedly making threatening remarks towards a female judge, although his party maintains that he was referring to legal action.

When asked about the rally on Saturday, Khan enthusiastically boasted about the crowd size at Lahore's Minar-e-Pakistan meeting ground, describing it as "almost historic" and emphasizing the difficulty of filling such a large venue. He sees the ability to fill the venue as a sign of massive support, which can be watched by the entire country. However, returning to power in a country where political rhetoric has been replaced by open threats of violence is a challenging task.

Khan is attempting to do so after being voted out, while in the US, Trump is attempting the same task. The situation in Pakistan has escalated to a new low, with political opponents making open threats of violence against each other. According to Rana Sanaullah, the prime minister's home minister, Khan is an "enemy" who is "incurable." Khan believes that the current situation is worse than during his time opposing General Musharraf's military dictatorship, during which he was jailed for eight days.

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