ISLAMABAD: Shahbaz Gill, chief of staff to former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, said he suspected the prime minister and the interior minister “must be behind the attempt on my life” — a car crash on the Lahore-Islamabad motorway on Thursday in which he was injured.
“Shehbaz Sharif, along with Rana Sanaullah Khan and [his] other friends, must be involved in this accident,” he told reporters outside the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
Gill, who was travelling from Lahore to Islamabad, said the accident took place near Khanqah Dogran of Sheikhupura district. Apparently, it occurred when a speeding vehicle, a Toyota Yaris, struck his car from the rear side.
He was immediately shifted to Islamabad after receiving medical treatment.
In a tweet later on Thursday, Gill claimed that the accident was “planned”.
“I want to tell those who attempted to have me killed that I am alive because of prayers. My car was deliberately hit, it was planned,” he wrote.
مجھ پر قاتلانہ حملہ کروانے والوں کو بتانا چاہتا ہوں۔ اپنے مولا اور قوم کی دعاؤں کی وجہ سے زندہ ہوں۔ میری گاڑی کا پیچھا کر کے جان بوجھ کر ہٹ کیا گیا۔یہ ایک منصوبے کے تحت کیا گیا
میں نے کل ہی کہا تھا کہ کیا زیادہ سے زیادہ آپ ہمیں قتل کروا دیں گے ؟ کروا لیں۔ غداری نہیں کروں گا۔
— Dr. Shahbaz GiLL (@SHABAZGIL) May 5, 2022
Recalling his statement from Wednesday, he said “I had said just a day ago the most you could do is to get us killed. Do it. But, I will not betray [my cause].”
On Friday, Gill said the elements behind the incident harboured similar intentions for Khan. “As his chief of staff, I fear an attack on him [as well],” he added.
While he refused to divulge the names to reporters at the moment, he said he would be sharing the names with the “few independent voices in the media” in Pakistan.
Muridke police claimed to have arrested the man who hit Gill’s vehicle and said it later handed him over to Hafizabad police for interrogation early Friday morning.
مورخہ 5 مئی 2022 کو سابق وزیر اعظم پاکستان کے ترجمان شہباز گل کی گاڑی کو موٹروے پر خانقاہ ڈوگراں کے قریب حادثہ پیش آیا، حادثے میں شہباز گل محفوظ رہے۔ حادثہ کے بابت شہباز گل کے رشتہ دار جابر علی کی مدعیت میں متعلقہ تھانے میں ایف آئی آر درج کروائی گئی۔ pic.twitter.com/KIUPrNKPOL
— National Highways & Motorway Police (NHMP) (@NHMPofficial) May 6, 2022
In his initial statement to the Central Investigating Agency (CIA) wing of the police, Wajahat Ali, the driver, said that he, along with his family, was traveling to Islamabad on Thursday in the car which he claimed he had rented from a dealer in Muridke.
“When I reached the motorway, my car collided with Gill’s vehicle by mistake,” he said, and regretted that the incident was given a political angle.
The Associated Press of Pakistan reported on Thursday that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered a probe into the incident, directing his administration to “ensure justice”.
Meanwhile, the high court extended until May 9 his protective bail in connection with a case involving sloganeering against Sharif and his delegation in Medina.
Chief Justice Athar Minallah also exempted Gill from the appearance at the next hearing before ordering his staff to club his case with other identical petitions.
Speaking before the judge, Gill said his only crime was that he belonged to a middle class, and not a landlord, family.
“I give tit-for-tat reply to criticism against my leader Imran Khan that is my crime,” he said.
“I am the first victim of the coalition government’s vengeance. Only recently Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz has said that PTI leaders should be crushed. I am afraid I may not be able to appear in the court on the next hearing given the political victimisation by the present government.”
Cutting him short, Justice Minallah told him not to utter such “ominous” words in the court.
Gill further said he was a law-abiding citizen and had always respected the courts be they are in his favour or against him. “I never even got a case registered against any of my opponents, did not exploit PECA,” he added.