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Pakistani police name lone gunman in gun attack on Imran Khan

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ISLAMABAD – Pakistani police on Tuesday opened a criminal investigation into a failed assassination attempt on former Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying only one gunman was involved.

Khan, 70, has suggested that two people shot at him last Thursday during an anti-government rally in the eastern city of Wazirabad.

The former cricketer, who has been pushing for snap elections since he was ousted as prime minister after losing a parliamentary vote in April, is recovering from leg injuries at his home in the city of Lahore.

Police identified the suspect as Mohammad Naveed, a man in his thirties.

A copy of the police report, seen by Reuters, said a man in the crowd near Khan grabbed a gun and started firing, injuring Khan and 10 other people, one of whom later died.

Police said the suspected gunman was arrested after Khan supporter Ibtesam Hasan overpowered him and dismissed his target.

Regional Police Chief Akhtar Abbas told Reuters that a criminal investigation had been launched following the registration of a formal case.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said Tuesday that the suspect was self-motivated.

“The things we got from his cell phone showed that he was fully motivated, completely committed,” he told a news conference.

Reuters journalists visited the Wazirabad district on Friday where the suspect lived in a dingy house with his widowed mother, wife and two sons – the youngest just 2 weeks old.

Police confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday that this was the same man as the suspect Mohammad Naveed named in the case.

Neighbors said he had returned this year from Saudi Arabia, where he had worked as a plumber for several years.

They described him as a quiet person and said his connection to the attack came as a surprise, although he had shown some signs of religiosity since his return to Pakistan.

“I have known him since childhood, he had no bad habits, his act just shocked us,” said neighbor Mohammad Saddiq, adding that the man had recently preached to him about saying his prayers.

He went to a nearby mosque and had recently objected to a music event at a nearby school, asking that the music not be played during prayer time.

Khan said on Twitter on Tuesday that the police case was a “farce.”

He has accused Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and intelligence officer Major General Faisal Nasser of planning to assassinate him. The government and military have denied this.

Khan launched what is known as a long march protest rally from Lahore to the capital on October 28, which his party says will resume on Thursday in the same place where he was attacked.

Khan supporters blocked roads near the capital Islamabad on Tuesday, disrupting traffic and closing schools.

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