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Imran Khan's convoy hit by bullets; son Sulaiman caught in violence

Islamabad: Sulaiman Khan, the eldest son of Jemima and Imran Khan, was caught today in the escalating violence after his politician father's car was attacked during  anti-government march and clashes between protestors in PakistanThe vehicle
India TV News Desk August 15, 2014 22:19 IST
India TV News Desk
Islamabad: Sulaiman Khan, the eldest son of Jemima and Imran Khan, was caught today in the escalating violence after his politician father's car was attacked during  anti-government march and clashes between protestors in Pakistan

The vehicle carrying Sulaiman Khan, 17, and the former cricketer was hit by bullets, as pro-government activists attacked his convoy, throwing shoes and stones.

The father-sun duo was attacked while they were leading the supporters through Gujranwala on their way to protest in the capital Islamabad on Friday.

However, it is not known who fired at Khan's vehicle, but the attackers throwing stones were seen carrying pro-government signs.

“Neither father not son were injured,” said Imran's spokeswoman

Noticeably, Sulaiman and his younger brother Qasim, 15, moved with their mother to Britain after the Khan's divorce in 2004, and is thought to be visiting his father in Pakistan.

Anti-government politician Tahir ul-Qadri and Imran Khan are slowly leading separate processions of thousands of protesters towards Islamabad. They are planning to occupy main streets in the city until the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif steps down.

Security was tight in the capital and authorities had blocked several main roads with shipping containers and barbed wire in an effort to thwart the marches.

Riot police were out in force but hundreds of protesters began to gather, banging drums, singing and dancing as they prepared to welcome the their comrades approaching the city.

‘We have come to save our country because of the call of our leader, Imran Khan,' said 36-year-old Ajaz Khan in central Islamabad. He was speaking before the shots were fired at Khan.

‘We will not leave from here until our leader tells us to go.'

Both Khan and Qadri have large and devout followings of different kinds. Khan, a famed former cricketer known for his charity work and his marriage to British socialite and journalist Jemima Khan, now heads the third largest party in Pakistan.

Qadri is a popular cleric and heads a large network of religious schools and Islamic charities.

His followers say they intend to occupy Jinnah Avenue, Islamabad's main thoroughfare leading to many embassies and government buildings.

‘We will not go back until Sharif resigns,' said Qadri's spokesman, Shahid Mursaleen.

‘They killed our people, there is no way we can make a deal with them

Qadri has accused police of killing 22 of his supporters during clashes in the eastern city of Lahore in June and this month. Police confirmed 11 deaths.

About 2,000 of Qadri's supporters were also arrested this month, police said.

Khan is protesting against alleged electoral irregularities in last year's polls.

Most observers expect the military to play referee, to maintain security but not support action to force Sharif out.

‘Imran will not get from the army what he was expecting,' said an analyst close to the military.

‘If there was any confusion earlier about whether the army would help Imran or rescue him or topple the government, there should be none now. There is no question of army intervention.'

The protests have raised questions over stability at a time when the nuclear-armed nation of 180 million is fighting an offensive against Pakistani Taliban militants and the influence of anti-Western and sectarian groups is growing.

In the latest violence, ten militants were killed and 13 members of the security forces were wounded in attacks on two air force bases in the city Quetta late on Thursday, the third time since June when airports had been targeted.