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7 killed in stampede at Imran Khan’s rally in Pak

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At least seven people were killed and 40 others wounded in a stampede following a political rally by opposition politician Imran Khan in central Pakistan on Friday, officials said.

The deaths occurred in Multan city after the cricketer-turned-politician addressed a crowd to press his demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who he accuses of vote rigging in last year’s elections.

“At least seven people are dead and 40 others wounded,” Pervez Haider, director of the emergency department at Nishtar Hospital, told AFP.

Multan police chief Sultan Chaudhry confirmed the casualties and said the stampede occurred when people were leaving the stadium after the rally.

Khan, along with populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, has been staging a sit-in in the capital Islamabad since August 15. Protest rallies have also been held in other Pakistani cities.

Khan and Qadri claim the 2013 elections were massively rigged, but local and foreign observers say the polls were credible.

Their followers clashed with police in late August after they tried to storm the prime minister’s residence, leaving three demonstrators dead and hundreds injured on both sides.

On September 1, the opposition groups briefly occupied the state broadcaster but the movement has since lost momentum.

Analysts believe the protests have been coordinated by the powerful army as a means of re-asserting its dominance over civilian authorities.


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