Pakistani politician Imran Khan was advised to rest for a week after sustaining head and back injuries after a fall on Tuesday, a hospital official said on Wednesday. The accident seems to have heated up the ongoing election campaign in the Asian nation.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI) chairman was admitted to the private Shaukat Khanum hospital that he founded in Lahore on Tuesday after he fell off a forklift that was hoisting him onto a stage for an election campaign meeting in the eastern Pakistani city.
Khan, 61, and several of his bodyguards apparently lost their balance and fell several feet to the ground.
Doctors told the AFP that Khan needs bed rest, which could jeopardize his ability to campaign in person. However, they added that his injuries were not life-threatening.
Hospital spokesperson Khawaja Nazir told the AFP that Khan had one main head injury, two “fractures” to his back and a small injury to his shoulder, but that his condition is not serious.
“There is nothing serious to his injuries," Nazir told the AFP. "He is in a private room; he is not in the ICU. He has been shifted from the ICU to a private room,”
Pakistan’s Dawn News reported the accident took place when PTI workers and Khan’s two bodyguards climbed on the forklift, which had been raised with six wooden planks. As soon as Khan stepped on the wooden planks, the forklift driver operated the lift. Meanwhile, another guard tried to climb on the forklift but was dragged down by security guards standing on the ground. The falling guard held the legs of the guard on forklift and eventually pulled down two guards and Khan.
The incident came three weeks after Khan’s home in an Islamabad suburb came under attack from disgruntled members of his own party.
Approximately 100 party members went to his house to protest the distribution of party tickets in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa province for the elections scheduled for May 11. They broke the main gate of the residence and tried to enter his personal quarters but the former sportsman’s security guards called the police and forced the angry PTI workers out of the premises.
“Seven thousand people wanted tickets, [and] we only gave to 700,” he had said in April after the attack, the Daily Telegraph reported. “I understand the protest but breaking in is not the way to do things.”
On Tuesday night, Imran Khan spoke to a local television channel and said that he had done his bit and now it was up to the nation to rise and perform their duty to make a “New Pakistan.” He urged people to consider only the candidates but vote for the party. “The last five years were hard for people to survive, and the next five years will be intolerable if people do not vote for a change,” he said.