Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan has told CNN he had information from within intelligence agencies that the shooting which injured him last week would take place.
Khan survived a shooting at a political rally in Gujranwala on Thursday, an incident that his party has called an assassination attempt.
When asked by CNN’s Becky Anderson on Monday what information he had been given on the incident, and by whom, Khan said: “Remember, three and a half years I was in power. I have connections with intelligence agencies, the different agencies that operate. How did I get the information? From within the intelligence agencies. Why? Because most people are appalled by what is going on in this country.”
Speaking from his residence in Zaman Park, Lahore, Khan referred to a speech he made on September 24 in which he said he outlined how the events of the shooting would transpire.
Last Friday, Khan blamed establishment figures for a plot to kill him – a claim strenuously denied by governing and security officials.
On Monday, he told Anderson: “As the events unfolded, they are in that speech. How this would happen, how in the name of blasphemy a religious fanatic would kill me and they would blame it on him. All this is in my speech which I put on television – it’s on social media.”
When asked about suggestions from his critics that accusing the current government of perpetrating the attack would help Khan get back into office, he replied that he doesn’t “need any reason to accuse this government for me to get back into power,” adding that his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party remains popular since his ousting in April.
“They tried everything to somehow get me out of the way. When that didn’t happen, this was planned,” he added.
One person died in Thursday’s attack which injured several others, while Khan was taken to a hospital in Lahore for treatment after a bullet hit his leg. Speaking from the hospital on Friday, and without offering evidence, Khan blamed Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif, interior minister Rana Sanaullah and Maj. Gen. Faisal, who is a senior intelligence official. CNN is reaching out to the three men for comment.
Pakistan’s Ministry for Information and Broadcasting last week denied Khan’s allegations against Sharif and Sanaullah at a news conference.
Pakistan’s military has also hit back at Khan’s claims, calling them “baseless and irresponsible” and “absolutely unacceptable and uncalled for.” In a statement on Friday night, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) called Khan’s accusations against the military and military officials “highly regrettable and strongly condemned.”
“Pakistan army prides itself for being an extremely professional and well-disciplined organisation with a robust and highly effective internal accountability system applicable across the board for unlawful acts, if any, committed by uniformed personnel,” the statement read.
“However, if the honour, safety and prestige of its rank and file is being tarnished by vested interests through frivolous allegations, the institution will jealousy safeguard its officers and soldiers no matter what,” it continued.
CNN reported earlier on Monday that Khan wrote a letter to Pakistani president Arif Alvi saying since Khan’s government was removed from power in April, his party had been confronted with “an ever-increasing scale of false allegations, harassment, arrests and custodial torture.”
The letter, obtained by CNN from a source close to the former prime minister, is dated November 6, three days after Khan survived the shooting.