Imran Khan news leaves cricket community stunned amid T20 World Cup

Imran Khan, pictured here in Pakistan in 2011.
Imran Khan in Pakistan in 2011. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

The cricket world has reacted with shock and sadness after Pakistan legend and former prime minister Imran Khan was shot in an apparent assassination attempt on Thursday.

Khan was been shot in the shin when his anti-government protest convoy came under attack in the east of the country in what his aides say was a clear assassination attempt.

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The 70-year-old, who was ousted as prime minister in April, was six days into a protest procession, standing and waving to thousands of cheering supporters from the roof of a container in Wazirabad - nearly 200km from Islamabad.

Several others in his convoy were wounded when shots rang out, and Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said a suspect had been arrested after the attack.

In purported footage of the shooting, being run by multiple channels, a man with a handgun can be seen being grabbed from behind by one of the people at the gathering.

TV channels showed a man they said was a suspected shooter, who looked to be in his twenties or thirties. The man said he “tried my best to kill him” and had acted alone.

"He (Khan) was misleading the people, and I couldn't bear it," the suspect said in the video. The information minister confirmed the footage was recorded by police.

Khan had been whipping up large crowds on his way to the capital Islamabad in a campaign to topple the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

One member of Khan's party said there were reports one person had been killed in the attack.

"It was a clear assassination attempt. Khan was hit but he's stable. There was a lot of bleeding," Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesman for Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, told Reuters.

"If the shooter had not been stopped by people there, the entire PTI leadership would have been wiped out."

Pakistani security officials, pictured here inspecting the crime scene after an incident that targeted former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Pakistani security officials inspect the crime scene after an incident that targeted former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Image: AAP

He also wrote on Twitter: "It was a well-planned assassination attempt on Imran Khan, the assassin planned to kill Imran Khan and leadership of PTI, it was not 9 MM it was burst from automatic weapon, no two opinions about that it was narrow escape."

Local media showed pictures of Khan waving to the crowd after being removed from his vehicle following the shooting. He was taken to hospital in Lahore as protesters poured onto streets in some parts of the country and PTI leaders demanded justice.

PTI colleague Faisal Javed, who was also wounded and had blood stains on his clothes, told Geo TV from the hospital: "Several of our colleagues are wounded. We heard that one of them is dead."

Prime Minister Sharif condemned the shooting and ordered an immediate investigation.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam, currently leading his side at the T20 World Cup in Australia, led the reactions from around the cricket community.

Imran Khan shooting to alter England's plans?

The shooting could force England’s cricket team to review security arrangements for their upcoming Test tour of Pakistan.

The Irish women’s cricket team are currently on tour in Pakistan and are also said to be assessing the situation.

“Cricket Ireland is aware of an incident involving former prime minister Imran Khan that took place approximately 150km outside Lahore, venue of the three ODIs and three T20Is between Ireland Women and Pakistan Women," Ireland Cricket said in a statement.

“Cricket Ireland is currently liaising with the Pakistan Cricket Board, in-country security advisors and diplomatic services. The PCB chief executive Faisal Hasnain has spoken directly with Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom and team manager Beth Healy, and provided them with an updated assessment of the on-ground situation.

Imran Khan, pictured here arriving to join an anti-government march towards Islamabad.
Imran Khan arrives to join an anti-government march towards Islamabad. (Photo by Arif ALI / AFP) (Photo by ARIF ALI/AFP via Getty Images)

“Current advice provided to Cricket Ireland is that there will be no change in the threat level as a result of this incident. The Ireland Women’s squad has been briefed, while Cricket Ireland’s security advisors will continue to review procedures and monitor the situation. However, presently there are no anticipated changes to the security arrangements and procedures that are already in place for the tour.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board are also making their own inquiries, with Ben Stokes’ Test team set to arrive for a three-match series in Rawalpindi, Multan and Karachi on November 26.

England recently toured Pakistan for the first time since 2005, playing seven T20 matches. The tour came after a controversial abandonment of a planned series in 2021, and went without major incident.

Khan played 88 Tests and 175 one-day internationals for Pakistan, captaining his country for the majority of his career.

with AAP

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