Skip to main content

Pakistani prime minister candidate fractures spine after dramatic fall

From Saima Mohsin, CNN
May 8, 2013 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Imran Khan and his guards tumbled about 20 feet near a rally stage
  • Khan is one of two frontrunners for prime minister
  • Saturday's election will mark Pakistan's first democratic transition of power
  • The run-up to Pakistan's elections has been beset by violence, particularly by the Pakistani Taliban

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Famed politician and Pakistani cricket star Imran Khan suffered spinal fractures and a head injury after a dramatic fall on the campaign trail, officials said.

Khan is one of two frontrunners for Pakistani prime minister. He was injured Tuesday, just four days before the country's historic election -- Pakistan's first democratic transition of power.

Khan and at least two guards were riding on a forklift up to a stage in Lahore, where Khan was to hold a rally. The men apparently lost their balance near the side of the stage and fell about 20 feet, clinging on to one another.

Khan struck his head on a metal bar jutting out of machinery on the way down. His guards were not seriously injured.

Election violence in Pakistan

Cricket star turned politician takes fall
2012: Imran Khan takes on U.S. drones

Dr. Faisal Sultan of Shaukat Khanum Hospital said Khan suffered two fractures to his spine and needs to rest, but there's no sign of any neurological damage.

From his hospital bed, Khan urged citizens to vote in Saturday's election. His injuries cut short a grueling schedule of 50 rallies across Pakistan in eight days.

His main opponent, Nawaz Sharif, decided to postpone campaigning out of respect for Khan.

Pakistan's democratic elections to select a new government have been plagued by deadly violence in recent weeks, and the Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for several hits on candidates' campaigns.

At least 16 people died Tuesday in two attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province; one attack targeted a Pakistan People's Party rally, and the other targeted a candidate for the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal Ur Rehman group, police said.

And on Monday, an explosion killed 18 people at a rally for Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal Ur Rehman, a right-wing religious party with sympathies for the militant Taliban movement.

Incidentally, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for that blast. It said it attacked because one of the candidates, Munir Orakzai, has handed over members of the mujahedeen to the United States.

"We will never forgive him nor leave him alive," a statement from Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ihsan Ullah Ihsan said.

The anti-Taliban Awami National Party and the Muttahida Quami Movement and their personnel also have been targeted recently.

On Saturday, three people were killed in back-to-back explosions near the MQM headquarters in Karachi, police said.

The MQM, one of Pakistan's largest and most liberal parties, is firmly opposed to the Islamist militant group.

Ihsan, the Pakistani Taliban spokesman, called CNN and said his group claimed responsibility for the Karachi explosions.

CNN's Nasir Habib and Shaan Khan contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The tragic killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a bitter public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1327 GMT (2127 HKT)
North Korea warns the United States that U.S. "citadels" will be attacked, dwarfing the hacking attack on Sony that led to the cancellation of a comedy film's release.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it's never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
More than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation, Unicef has warned.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1322 GMT (2122 HKT)
Boko Haram's latest abductions may meet a weary global reaction, Nigerian journalist Tolu Ogunlesi says.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
Drops, smudges, pools of blood are everywhere -- but in the computer room CNN's Nic Robertson reels from the true horror of the Peshawar school attack.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT