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Pakistani PM denies involvement in attempted assassination of Khan

Shehbaz Sharif said that the former prime minister is harming the country with “cheap and false conspiracies.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has rejected accusations that he was involved in the assassination attempt on opposition leader Imran Khan, as supporters of the former prime minister continue to protest, demanding an investigation into the shooting.

Khan was shot in the leg during an anti-government demonstration on Thursday. The cricketer-turned-politician blamed Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and a senior general in the Pakistan Army for trying to assassinate him.

“I have no right to remain in office if any evidence is found about my involvement in this case,” Sharif said on Saturday, adding that no evidence was presented against the three people named by Khan.

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“I will leave politics forever if it comes to that,” he told reporters in the northeastern city of Lahore.

Sharif said the former prime minister is harming the country with “cheap and false conspiracies.” He urged the Supreme Court to form a full court commission to investigate the “serious” allegations.

“I request the Honorable Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to form a full court commission as there should be an immediate decision on this issue after thorough investigation,” he said.

On Friday, Pakistan’s powerful military, which has ruled the country for more than half of its 75-year independence, responded by calling Khan’s remarks “irresponsible and unacceptable.”

Khan maintains that his removal from office in a no-confidence motion in April was part of a “foreign conspiracy” hatched in the United States with the help of Pakistani opposition parties, a charge repeatedly denied by the government, the powerful military, as well as well as Washington.

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Khan has held dozens of rallies across the country since April demanding early elections. He was leading a march to the capital, Islamabad, to press his demands when a gunman opened fire in the Wazirabad district of eastern Punjab.

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In the past, he has also accused military officials of torturing them in custody and harassing his party workers, who include a senator and a top aide.

Pakistan’s government issued an order on Saturday asking the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to reverse its decision to ban Khan’s live speeches on TV channels.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said the government believes in free speech and democratic norms, and will not stand in the way of Khan’s speeches reaching the public.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Khan’s supporters continued to protest in Pakistan’s major cities, demanding justice and calling for the resignation of the three people accused of the assassination attempt.

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Workers and supporters of his party said they did not require Khan to present any evidence against his claims because they believed he was telling the truth.

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