Skip to main content

Pakistani prime minister candidate fractures spine after dramatic fall

From Saima Mohsin, CNN
updated 10:58 AM EDT, Wed May 8, 2013
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
updated 5:08 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Is the rapid rise of religion in China a threat to the Communist Party's rule?
updated 7:34 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
updated 1:13 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
Unlike most twenty somethings starting out in New York City, Zhang Yuzhu is not scrimping to make rent.
updated 3:40 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
updated 8:36 PM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
updated 5:04 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
updated 8:34 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
The sights couldn't be sadder: Animals killed or suffering through war in Gaza.
updated 9:14 AM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
They are the faces of a community on the run. Photographer Warzer Jaff documents the plight of the Yazidis.
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
A cameraman films a massive New York City subway rat charging at him and attacking him. WPIX reports.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT