Assassination bid on Imran Khan 'well-thought-out conspiracy', says JIT

Police had arrested the prime suspect, Muhammad Naveed

December 27, 2022 10:45 pm | Updated 10:45 pm IST - Lahore

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan. File.

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan. File. | Photo Credit: Reuters

The assassination bid on Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan during his long march to Islamabad last month was a "well-thought-out conspiracy," according to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the incident.

Mr. Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), suffered bullet injuries in the right leg on November 3 when two gunmen fired a volley of bullets at him and others standing on a container-mounted truck in the Wazirabad area (some 150-km from Lahore), where he was leading the long march to press for snap polls.

Briefing the media on the findings of the JIT headed by Lahore Police chief Ghulam Mahmood Dogar, Punjab Home Minister Omar Sarfraz Cheema said on Monday that the gun attack on Khan was "organised one and well-thought-out conspiracy." He said the JIT investigation found that more than one attacker tried to assassinate 70-year-old Khan in the rally.

Police had arrested the prime suspect, Muhammad Naveed, who has been in the JIT custody on a physical remand till January 3 for interrogation.

The Minister said Naveed is a "trained assassin and he was present at the crime scene with his accomplices." He said Naveed also failed a polygraph test. Naveed had told police he wanted to kill Mr. Khan as music was played during Azan time during his long march/rally.

Naveed's cousin Muhammad Waqas has also been in the JIT's custody till January 3 for a controversial social media post. Mr. Waqas on November 3 had tweeted "something big is going to happen today in Imran Khan's rally".

Mr. Khan had blamed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Major General Faisal Naseer of ISI for hatching a plot to assassinate him.

The Punjab police had registered the FIR in connection with the assassination attempt on Mr. Khan but didn't mention the high-profile suspects including ISI's top man Khan held responsible for the attack.

Mr. Khan dismissed the FIR, saying without nominating Sharif, Sanaullah, and ISI Counter Intelligence Wing head Maj-Gen Faisal in the FIR it is a mere "piece of trash".

The Punjab police said they nabbed Naveed from the crime scene and he had confessed to his crime. Naveed in his confessional statement said that he wanted to kill Khan as music was played during Azan time during his long march.

Indirectly blaming the powerful military establishment, Khan had said: "I wonder if I, being former Prime Minister of Pakistan, can't get an FIR registered in connection with the attack on me and other PTI workers what will happen to the common man." He claimed that Naveed is a trained shooter and there was another shooter who opened fire on him from another direction.

The JIT has so far recorded the statements of the policemen and PTI workers who were present close to Mr. Khan at the time of attack on him.

Mr. Khan is recovering from his wounds and currently residing at his Lahore's Zaman Park residence.

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