Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told CNN that he had information from intelligence agencies that the shooting that injured him last week would take place.
Khan survived a shooting at a political rally in Gujranwala on Thursday, an incident his party has described as an attack.
Asked by CNN’s Becky Anderson on Monday what information he was given about the incident and by whom, Khan said: “Remember I was in power for three and a half years. I have relationships with intelligence agencies, different agencies that work. How did I get the information? From within the intelligence agencies. Why? Because most people are horrified by what is happening in this country.”
Speaking from his residence in Lahore’s Zaman Park, Khan referred to his September 24 speech in which he said he explained how the events of the shooting would unfold.
Last Friday, Khan accused establishment figures of a plot to kill him, a claim government and security officials vehemently denied.
On Monday, he told Anderson: “As the events unfolded, they are in that speech. How this would happen, how a religious fanatic would kill me in the name of blasphemy and blame him. It’s all in my speech that I put on TV, it’s on social media.”
Asked about his critics’ suggestions that blaming the current government for the attack would help bring Khan back to office, he replied that he “doesn’t need a reason to blame this government to bring me back to power”, adding. he remains popular with his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party since his removal 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 was killed in Thursday’s attack, while several others were injured, and Khan was taken to a hospital in Lahore for treatment after a bullet hit him in the leg. Speaking from hospital on Friday, and offering no evidence, Khan blamed Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and senior intelligence official Major General Faisal. CNN is reaching out to all three men for comment.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Information and Media last week denied Khan’s allegations against Sharif and Sanaullah in a press conference.
Pakistan’s military has also hit back at Khan’s claims, calling them “baseless and irresponsible” and “totally unacceptable and uncalled for”. In a statement on Friday night, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) called Khan’s allegations against the military and the military “very unfortunate and strongly condemned”.
“The Pakistan Army prides itself on being a highly professional and well-disciplined organization with a robust and highly effective internal accountability system applicable to illegal acts, if any, by its uniformed personnel,” the statement said.
“However, if the honor, security and reputation of its ranks are tarnished by vested interests through frivolous allegations, the organization will jealously protect its officers and soldiers regardless,” he continued.
CNN reported Monday that Khan wrote a letter to Pakistani President Arif Alvi saying that since Khan’s government was ousted in April, his party had faced “escalating 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.