Who is Imran Khan? Former Pakistan prime minister and cricketer shot in ‘assassination attempt’

Imran Khan addresses his supporters during an anti-government march on November 1 (AFP via Getty Images)
Imran Khan addresses his supporters during an anti-government march on November 1 (AFP via Getty Images)

The former prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has been shot in an apparent assassination attempt, while on a march in Islamabad with his supporters, according to local reports.

A senior aide told AFP news agency it was “an attempt to kill him”, but police are yet to confirm that he was the target.

At least four other people were injured in the shooting, when an unidentified gunman opened fire on a vehicle carrying Mr Khan as it travelled through Wazirabad, which is approximately 110 miles south-east of Islamabad, reports The Telegraph.

According to local news channels, shots were fired near the convoy carrying Mr Khan, 70, as he led the protest march, in the eastern Punjab province.

The former prime minister was on the march in a bid to call for a snap election, after being removed from office in April.

After the attack, he was rushed to hospital and, according to his supporters, his injuries are only minor.

Mr Khan’s Pakinstan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party called the attack an “assassination attempt”, and added that the leader Faisal Javed had also been injured in the attack.

Imran Ismail, a member of the party, said Mr Khan was shot in the leg “three to four times” by an attacker, wielding an AK-47.

According to The Telegraph, Farrukh Habib, of Mr Khan’s party, said: “Imran Khan is injured, may Allah protect him, the whole nation should pray for the life of Imran Khan.”

But who is Imran Khan? Here’s everything you need to know.

Who is Imran Khan?

Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, 70, is a Pakistani former cricketer and politician, who served as the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan, from August 2018 to April 2022, when he was ousted through a no-confidence motion.

Born in Lahore in 1952, Khan’s paternal family are of Pashtun ethnicity and belongs to the Niazi tribe.

He grew up with four sisters in an upper-middle-class family and was educated in England at the Royal Grammar School Worcester, before attending Keble College, Oxford, where he read philosophy, politics, and economics, graduating in 1975.

Khan made his test-cricket debut against England in 1971 at Edgbaston and, in 1976, he returned to Pakistan, where he secured a permanent position on the national team.

In 1982, he took over the captaincy of the team, until he retired.

On April 25, 1996, Khan founded the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and ran for a seat on the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1997, as a candidate of PTI from two constituencies - Mianwali and Lahore - but was unsuccessful and lost both seats.

The following years saw him participate again in the 2002 Pakistan general election, during which he was elected for Mianwali.

In 2018, Khan was elected prime minister of Pakistan and, during his victory speech, he said that his inspiration was to build the country as a humanitarian state, based on the principles of the first Islamic state of Medina.

Mr Khan has been married three times, firstly to British socialite Jemima Goldsmith. His second, short-lived marriage was to British Pakistani journalist Reham Khan.

His current wife is Bushra Bibi Khan, whom he married six months before he assumed office as prime minister.

He has three children, two sons and a daughter.