Former Prime Minister Imran Khan shot in foot in reported assassination attempt in Pakistan
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Former Prime Minister Imran Khan shot in foot in reported assassination attempt in Pakistan

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Former Prime Minister Imran Khan shot in foot in reported assassination attempt in Pakistan
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Islamabad, PakistanCNN — 

Pakistan’s ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan was shot in the foot at a rally Thursday, according to an official from his party, which said the incident was an assassination attempt.

A bullet hit Khan in his foot after a gunman opened fire, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Asad Umar said.

The former Pakistan cricket captain was taken from the rally site just outside the town of Gujranwala to receive treatment in Lahore, around a two-and-a-half-hour drive away.

Khan is in a stable condition and undergoing surgery, according to Senator Fawad Chaudhry, a senior PTI politician and Khan’s former information minister.

Six others were injured and are still being treated, Chaudhry said.

Police said they detained a man suspected of firing shots at the rally. The male suspect was arrested with a 9mm pistol and two empty magazines, police said.

At least one person was killed in the incident, according to Faisal Javed, a senior PTI politician and close Khan ally who received a wound to the head in the attack. The victim’s name has not been released.

In a video statement Javed, who can be seen sitting up while receiving treatment, said: “Please pray for us, for Imran Khan, pray for our fellow workers who are severely injured and pray for our party member who has died and is martyred.”

Protests broke out across Pakistan in support of Khan, including in the capital Islamabad as well as in Peshawar. Khan was on the seventh day of a nationwide rally tour calling for elections to be brought forward from August next year.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who came to power after Khan lost a parliamentary vote of no confidence in April, condemned Thursday’s attack on his political rival on Twitter.

“I condemn the incident of firing on PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the strongest words,” Sharif wrote, adding that he has asked for an “immediate report on the incident” and will pray for the recovery of those injured.

“Violence should have no place in our country’s politics,” Sharif wrote.

On October 21, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) recommended that Khan be disqualified from holding political office for five years, a move likely to further inflame political tensions in the country.

While reading out the recommendation, ECP chief Sikandar Sultan Raja stated that Khan was disqualified for being involved in “corrupt practices.”

The commission said its decision was based on the grounds that Khan had “made false statements” regarding the declaration of the sale of gifts sent to him by the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Dubai while in office – an offense that is illegal under the country’s constitution.

Khan was unseated in a vote of no-confidence following claims of bad governance and economic mismanagement.

Since then he has repeatedly claimed, without providing any evidence, that the United States had orchestrated his ouster. Khan’s allegations have become a staple at rallies he has held across Pakistan in a bid to return to power.

His claims have struck a chord with a young population in a country where anti-American sentiment runs high, and anti-establishment feelings are being fueled by a rising cost of living crisis.

This is not the first time that Pakistani politicians have been attacked.

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on December 27, 2007, and then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani survived an assassination attempt in 2008.

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Violent Typhoon Mawar sets sights on Philippines, Taiwan and Japan after blow to Guam

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The powerhouse typhoon is the equivalent of a very strong Category 4 hurricane as it approaches the northernmost island of the Philippines before turning to the north, continuing its damaging path.

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Japan says scrambled fighter jets after Russian planes spotted

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The country’s defence ministry says Russian ‘intelligence-gathering’ aircraft spotted near its coasts along the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Japan.

Japan scrambled fighter jets after spotting Russian “intelligence-gathering” aircraft off its coasts along the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Japan on Thursday, the country’s defence ministry has said.

One Russian aircraft travelled from Japan’s north down along part of its west coast, while the other took a similar route along the opposite coast and returned the same way, the Joint Staff office run under the defence ministry said in a brief statement.

“In response, fighters of the Air Self-Defence Force’s Northern Air Force and other units were scrambled,” it added.

There was no further information on the incident, which comes days after Japan hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the summit of Group of Seven (G7) – a grouping of rich nations – in Hiroshima city.

Japan has joined Western allies in sanctioning Moscow over its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, and has warned of the threat posed by Russia.

Its latest security document, which once called for enhanced ties and cooperation with Russia, now warns that Moscow’s military posturing in Asia and cooperation with China are “a strong security concern”.

Last May, Chinese and Russian military jets carried out joint flights near Japan immediately after a meeting of the United States-led Quad grouping in Tokyo. India and Australia are other members of Quad.

And more recently, Moscow has carried out military exercises, including test-firing missiles, in the Sea of Japan.

Russia considers Japan to be a “hostile” country – a designation it shares with all European Union countries, the US and its allies, including the United Kingdom and Australia.

Tokyo had complex relations with Moscow before the invasion of Ukraine in February, and the two sides have yet to sign a post-World War II peace treaty.

Attempts to do so have been hampered by a long-running dispute over islands controlled by Russia, which calls them the Kurils.

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France bans short-haul flights to cut carbon emissions

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France has banned domestic short-haul flights where train alternatives exist, in a bid to cut carbon emissions.

The law came into force two years after lawmakers had voted to end routes where the same journey could be made by train in under two-and-a-half hours.

The ban all but rules out air travel between Paris and cities including Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux, while connecting flights are unaffected.

Critics have described the latest measures as “symbolic bans”.

Laurent Donceel, interim head of industry group Airlines for Europe (A4E), told the AFP news agency that “banning these trips will only have minimal effects” on CO2 output.

He added that governments should instead support “real and significant solutions” to the issue.

Airlines around the world have been severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with website Flightradar24 reporting that the number of flights last year was down almost 42% from 2019.

The French government had faced calls to introduce even stricter rules.

France’s Citizens’ Convention on Climate, which was created by President Emmanuel Macron in 2019 and included 150 members of the public, had proposed scrapping plane journeys where train journeys of under four hours existed.

But this was reduced to two-and-a-half hours after objections from some regions, as well as the airline Air France-KLM.

French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir had earlier called on lawmakers to retain the four-hour limit.

“On average, the plane emits 77 times more CO2 per passenger than the train on these routes, even though the train is cheaper and the time lost is limited to 40 minutes,” it said.

It also called for “safeguards that [French national railway] SNCF will not seize the opportunity to artificially inflate its prices or degrade the quality of rail service”.

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