LONDON: Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Imran Khan said he had received information that he was number one on the terrorist hit-list. However, with around 25 militant groups identifying themselves as Taliban it is difficult to point out specifically which group is involved. Anyone of these groups could have been hired by my political opponents, Imran Khan told a British newspaper in an interview.
“There are perhaps 25 militant groups, which now call themselves ‘Taliban’ and any one of them could have been hired by my political opponents,” Imran said.
Imran added that there had already been damaging smears, including a claim that he was part of a Zionist conspiracy to take over Pakistan. “It was a dangerous allegation, and one that sounds crazy given my vehement opposition to drone strikes and the so-called ‘war on terror’. But the threat to my life was all too real.”
According to Imran it was ironic that a serious assassination attempt was prevented only by an accident. “The fall that nearly killed me quite possibly saved my life.”
Imran added that the British public might struggle to understand the energy and chaos of that campaign. “The meeting in Lahore where I fell in May was the first of nine separate rallies scheduled for that night. The following day I was supposed to be speaking at a further 13, spaced along the old Grand Trunk Road from Lahore to Islamabad. About a quarter of Pakistani voters live along that route.”
“We were drawing massive crowds and I was getting mobbed. Thousands were coming to hear me speak on behalf of our party, the Pakistan Movement for Justice, and we didn’t have the means to handle the spontaneous exuberance of the crowds. We were losing control.”
Imran further said that he had been warned by authorities that his life was at risk, and he had been given the highest level of police security.
“One safety measure was having me speak from a platform about 24ft above ground. This provided some protection from a potential bomb blast and also stopped passionate youths from climbing on to the stage. There were no steps, so instead a forklift truck was used to raise me up to the small platform to speak.”
“And this is how I nearly met my end. The fork-lift rose in a series of jerks and the security men surrounding me formed a barrier. This meant I could not see there wasn’t a guard rail around the platform.”