Imran Khan has vowed to resume his protest march to Islamabad once he has recovered from an apparent assassination attempt in which he was shot in the leg.
The former prime minister of Pakistan said from hospital in Lahore that two gunmen had tried to kill him in Thursday’s attack, which left one dead and at least 11 more injured.
He had been waving to crowds from a truck at the head of a protest march on the capital to press for early elections and the resignation of his successor, Shehbaz Sharif.
“I will give a call to march on Islamabad once I get better,” Khan said, sitting in a wheelchair and showing his leg in plaster.
His supporters came out onto the streets of major cities on Friday, blocking major roads and clashing in some places with security forces.
In Lahore, large groups of protesters burned tyres and blocked major roads.
Supporters said they wanted the march on Islamabad to continue.
“It cannot stop. People are very angry, it will become more intense,” Ansar Bashir, 40, a supporter who witnessed the shooting from close by, told Reuters while holding a flag of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
The vehicle Khan was travelling in remained parked at the site of the shooting, a busy street in Wazirabad about 120 miles east of Islamabad. Some shops there had reopened by early Friday, but there was an air of apprehension.
“This has given Wazirabad a bad name. He should stop [the protests]; more lives will be lost,” said Tahirul Qamar, a medical worker who had come to the market.
Punjab health minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, also a member of PTI, told Reuters two bullets had hit Khan in the shin and the thigh.
According to Punjab government spokesperson and PTI leader Musarat Jamshed Cheema, Khan has demanded that police investigate prime minister Sharif, interior minister Rana Sanaullah and intelligence official major-general Faisal, alleging they were behind the attack.
Khan and his party have not produced any evidence to support that allegation. Sharif and Sanaullah have condemned the attack and deny involvement.
Video of a man in custody, presented as the alleged shooter and saying he was motivated by religious reasons to attack Khan, was played widely on Pakistan television, but there was no verification of its authenticity.
The shooting brought back memories of how another former PM, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated during a rally in 2007.
Khan has been demanding snap polls ever since his government was ousted seven months ago in a confidence vote. He has since been campaigning against “interference” by the army and intelligence agency the ISI, claiming they “undermined democracy by installing a puppet government”.