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Pakistan's Imran Khan 'stable' after fall

Cricketer turned politician suffers injuries in Lahore incident on a day marked by deadly election-related violence.

Last Modified: 08 May 2013 12:03
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Imran Khan, the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf political party, has been injured after falling from a makeshift stage during a campaign rally in Lahore.

The cricketer turned politician fell 14 feet as he was stepping off an improvised forklift that was raising him to the top of the platform. Local TV station Geo TV aired footage of the accident and showed Khan bleeding and unconscious with a gash on his head.

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Al Jazeera's Asad Hashim, reporting from Lahore's Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital where Khan is being treated, said he is conscious, having suffered two fractures to his spinal column but not to his spinal cord.

He said Khan has no life-threatening injuries.

The hospital, which was set up by Khan himself, told Al Jazeera earlier that they were carrying out further tests and intended to keep Khan overnight.

At a news conference, Shah Mehmood Quershi, vice chairman of Khan's PTI party said Khan was in hospital and recovering well and was continuing to advise the party on its campaign strategy and party policy, with campaign events due to continue as normal after Wednesday.

Thursday is the last day of campaigning, and the PTI will hold a rally in Islamabad as scheduled, with Khan due to address the rally via telephone or video link.

Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said the politician hit a metal rod as he fell from the forklift; there was no first aid available and no ambulance was on site at the time of the incident.

Rival candidate in the general election, Nawaz Sharif, said he was suspending his campaigning plans for Wednesday as a mark of respect for Khan.

The incident in Lahore occurred on a day marked by multiple blasts targeting election rallies. In the Upper Dir district of northwest Pakistan, two people were killed and three injured after a grenade attack.

Earlier on Tuesday, an attack on a political rally of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in Lower Dir's Baba Gam village killed at least six people and injured dozens more.

An improved explosive device caused the blast, near a vehicle carrying Zahir Shah, the brother of Muhammad Zamin Khan, the PPP candidate from the PK-96 constituency. Zahir Shah was killed in the attack.

Hangu bombing

In another incident on Tuesday, a bomb exploded at a political party rally a district in northwest Pakistan of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) party, killing at least 10 people and wounding dozens more, including a provincial candidate.

The JUI rally in a bazaar in Hangu was being led by Mufti Seyd Janan, who is reported to be not in a serious condition.

Reports indicated that children returning home from school were among the wounded.

Spotlight
Coverage of 2013 general election across the politically divided South Asian nation.

It is thought that a bomb was planted on a motorbike and exploded by remote control near Janan's vehicle.

JUI has historically been sympathetic to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and has previously acted as a mediator between political parties and the anti-government group.

The TTP, however, claimed responsibility for an attack on the JUI on Monday which killed 25 people and wounded 60 more.

It is thought the target of that attack was a candidate, Munir Orakzai, who survived the blast.

Pakistan's elections are due to be held on May 11, with all campaigning to cease by May 9.

Al Jazeera's Hyder said the violence surrounding the elections was a source of great concern.

"The TTP has said it will sabotage these elections, which it believes are against Islam," he said. "Previously it has been targeting secular parties, but now it appears to be targeting religious parties as well."

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Source:
Al Jazeera And Agencies
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