Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Imran Khan injured in stage fall

Imran Khan, Pakistan's cricket star-turned-politician, has been injured in a fall (AP)

One of Pakistan's most prominent politicians, former cricket star Imran Khan, has been injured falling from a stage at a political rally in the eastern city of Lahore.

One of the leaders of Mr Khan's party, Ijaz Chaudhry, said he was taken to hospital after the incident but his injuries were not life-threatening.

Local TV footage showed supporters carrying Mr Khan away from the rally. His face was bloody and he appeared unconscious.

He fell at least 15 feet off what appeared to be a makeshift elevator raising him up to the stage.

Mr Khan has emerged as a wild-card candidate, and it is unclear how much his massive personal popularity will translate into votes at the polls. But his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is considered one of the top three parties in the country.

Dr. Mohammed Shafiq, who treated him, said Khan received seven stitches to a six-inch long wound in the head. He said the cut was not deep. "He is fully conscious and he was complaining of backache. He is fine, but he must have some rest for one or two days."

Television footage of the fall showed Mr Khan standing on what appeared to be a makeshift lift accompanied by at least three guards or supporters. As the lift began to raise him up to the stage, the cricket star and at least two of the men standing next to him fall back over a railing.

The fall put a damper on what has been one of Pakistan's most dynamic election campaigns.Mr Khan earned legendary status in the country when he led the underdog national team to the 1992 cricket World Cup to a victory.

He later joined politics but it was not until just a few years ago that his PTI party gained a widespread national following.

The charismatic politician had been setting a furious pace of rallies and election events across the country to drum up support for his campaign. Few expect him to be the next prime minster, but his party could play a role as a kingmaker or form a solid opposition in parliament.

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