Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has accused his successor of involvement in a plot to kill him as he recovered in hospital from gunshot wounds following an assassination attempt.
Khan told reporters on Friday that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who replaced him as prime minister following a vote of no confidence in April, was involved in a plot that included Minister for the Interior Rana Sanaullah and a senior army commander.
Keep readinglist of 4 items
“These three decided to kill me,” Khan said in his first public appearance since Thursday’s attack, adding that two gunmen were involved.
The government has denied any part, and blamed the assassination attempt on a gunman fuelled by “religious extremism”.
The media wing of Pakistan’s military called the allegations “baseless and irresponsible”.
“The government of Pakistan has been requested to investigate the matter and initiate legal action against those responsible for defamation and false accusations against the institution and its officials without any evidence whatsoever,” the military’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.
Sanaullah also rejected the allegations and said the coalition government had demanded an independent investigation. Sharif also condemned the shooting and ordered an investigation.
The attack on Khan’s convoy killed one man and wounded at least 10, significantly raising the stakes in a political crisis that has gripped the country since Khan’s toppling in April.
The 70-year-old former international cricket star has been leading a campaign convoy of thousands since last week from Lahore to Islamabad.
Sitting in a wheelchair – his right leg in a cast and left leg heavily bandaged – Khan spoke for more than an hour, railing against the government and establishment he has accused of unseating him.
He also made a new call to the public and urged the nation to continue its fight for freedom. He said that once he has recovered, he will resume his long march towards Islamabad.
Khan appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan to take action against the injustices being carried out against him and his party workers. He said that he has done enough for Pakistan to prove that he only has the best intentions for his country.
He demanded the resignation of the three people he held responsible for the attack.
“[If] there is no justice, a country can’t prosper,” Khan said addressing the chief justice. “It’s your responsibility to save this country from injustice.”
The Punjab provincial secretary general of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Hammad Azhar, told Al Jazeera that despite what some critics said, a lack of security was not to blame for the shooting.
“It’s not that there were no precautions taken. This was a planned assassination attempt on Imran Khan. It was carefully planned, and it was carefully executed,” Azhar said. “There were multiple security cordons around him.”
Pakistani journalist Hasan Khan told Al Jazeera that the former prime minister might have been too hasty with his accusations.
“It’s too early to blame the country’s prime minister, the interior minister and the senior military officer, but you know what Khan is doing, he is already cashing the political capital out of this,” he said.