Imran Khan Is OK, After Fracturing Three Vertebra In Spine and Neck, One Fractured Rib and 17 Stitches In His Head

Imran Khan fractures spine as Pakistan campaign halts

south china morning post

Agence France-Presse in Lahore

Doctors said on Wednesday they expect Pakistani politician Imran Khan to make a full recovery despite fracturing his spine in a fall at a campaign rally just days before the general election.

The retired cricket star and head of the Pakistan Movement for Justice (PTI) suffered several fractured vertebrae and a broken rib on Tuesday night when he fell from a lift raising him onto a platform at a campaign rally.

Medical staff have ordered the 60-year-old to remain immobile in bed, throwing his high-octane campaign for office in Saturday’s election in doubt, although his party has sought to capitalise on the sympathy vote.Supporters of Pakistani politician and former cricketer Imran Khan, place flowers outside a hospital where Khan is admitted in Lahore on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

The man tipped to win the polls, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, suspended campaigning on Wednesday in tribute to Khan.

His fall was the latest dramatic twist to an election campaign that has been overshadowed by a series of attacks on politicians and political parties which have killed 111 people since mid-April, according to an AFP tally.

The Pakistani Taliban have condemned the polls as un-Islamic and directly threatened the outgoing secular Pakistan People’s Party and its main coalition partners, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Awami National Party.

On Wednesday a suicide bomber killed three people and wounded 23 outside a police station in the northwestern district of Bannu, police said.

Aides said Khan would still address a final election rally on Thursday, even if it has to be from hospital.

Television footage showed him flat on his back in hospital wearing a neck brace, and looking pale and groggy after his fall in the city of Lahore.

Doctors have advised at least two days’ rest but say he is in full control of his limbs and bodily functions and expected to make a full recovery.

A television statement filmed from his bed in which Khan urged people to vote for his party has been re-released as a “paid content” advertisement for PTI.


“Mr Khan has been advised bed rest for the next one or two days and after that doctors will review his condition and decide accordingly,” Doctor Faisal Sultan, the head of the private Shaukat Khanum hospital, told reporters.

“The exact duration of how long he will require bed rest or immobilisation will be decided as time goes on.”

A medical report listed a series of fractures to Khan’s spine, one in his neck, another in a rib and an injury to his scalp.

But Sultan stressed that Khan’s spinal canal was intact and “he is in total control of all limbs and body functions”.

Party official Shah Mehmood Qureshi said PTI’s campaign finale – a rally outside parliament in Islamabad – would go ahead as planned on Thursday evening.

“Wherever he is, in any condition, even from the ICU (intensive care unit), he will address the nation in the last moments of the campaign,” Qureshi said.

Saturday’s vote will be a democratic milestone in a country ruled for half its history by the military. It will be the first time a civilian government has served a full term and handed over to another through the ballot box.

It remains unclear whether a wave of sympathy for Khan will improve his poll prospects. Most commentators expect him to do well enough to become a strong opposition but not to form a government.

Khan, who has only ever won one seat, led an electrifying campaign until his fall, galvanising the middle class and young people in what he has called a “tsunami” of support that will propel him into office.

“Definitely in Pakistan people get very sympathetic when things like this happen. We expect to see a five to 10 per cent increase in our support at least,” said Salman Malik, a PTI worker campaigning in the Punjab town of Narowal.

Haseeb Asif, 27, a writer in the same town, said Khan’s fall had not swayed his own vote but predicted it might do so that others.

“The fact that Imran Khan had a primetime speech from his bedside, that’s very powerful,” he said. “I wasn’t voting for PTI before. I haven’t changed my mind but I can see how other people would.”

Sharif, a millionaire steel tycoon, won praise for suspending his campaign and joining other political leaders to convey his sympathies.

Protestors torch Zardari’s effigy, Pak flag


Protestors torch Zardari’s effigy, Pak flag

KABUL (PAN): Hundreds of people continued protests across Afghanistan for the sixth straight day on Wednesday against Pakistani attacks on Afghan border posts.


In the heavily-fortified capital, Kabul University students took to the streets, chanting anti-Pakistan slogans and setting President Asif Ali Zardari’s effigy on fire.


While appreciating the courage of Afghan security forces in beating back the aggressors, one protestor, Mohammad Younus, said: “We want to support the Afghan government’s stance on the Duran Line and we will protect our motherland until our last breath.”


Last week, after an Afghan border policeman was killed in a border skirmish in Nangarhar province, President Hamid Karzai announced Afghanistan would never recognise the British-mandated Durand Line as an international border.


They protestors issued a resolution, saying: “Duran Line has divided Afghans and hence its unacceptability to us…we seek back the part of Afghan soil forcibly separated from our land.”


The rally, which started at 9am, ended peacefully amid tight security measures put in place in Kabul. Deputy police chief, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Amin, said: “Despite lack heavy weapons, we will protect our motherland with our spirit of sacrifice and patriotism. Afghan police and soldiers are ready to lay down their lives for the sake of their country.”


At the same time, students of Dawat University, Khoshal Khan Mena and Rahman Baba High Schools also protested in Qambar and Kart-i-Chahar neighbourhoods of the capital. They denounced Pakistan’s policy toward Afghanistan.


In central Bamyan province, hundreds of people, including women, rallied in the provincial capital and set alight President Asif Ali Zardari’s effigy. Chanting “Death to Pakistan”, the protestors marched from a mosque to Bamyan City.


Former jihadi commander and member of Mujahideen Council, Abdullah Noori, said: “If the president issues a decree, we are willing to guard our borders and protect our motherland.”


Islamabad should know the Afghans, who defeated the much stronger Soviet occupation army, could also vanquish Pakistani troops, remarked a physically-challenged demonstrator, Mohammad Hashim.


In the east, Nangarhar University students kept the busy Kabul-Jalalabad highway closed for three hours in Daronta area, declaring what they called a new round of jihad against Pakistan.


Qari Motmain, one of the participants of the rally, accused the authorities of keeping silent on naked aggression by Pakistani border guards. If the government did not react to the cross-border assaults, they would kick up a storm of protests, he warned.


In neighbouring Laghman province, thousands of tribal elders, religious scholars, youth and civil society representatives lashed out at the neighbouring country. Sarhadi Zwak, the governor’s spokesman, said angry demonstrations were ongoing across the province.


One demonstrator Haji Timur said the nation stood firmly behind the border guards, warning Pakistan of dire consequence if it did stop interfering in Afghanistan.


Students in western Herat province also denounced Pakistani military incursions and checkpoints in Goshta town.


The situation was intolerable for the Afghans, who were ready to sacrifice their lives for their country’s defence, observed Abdul Matin, a student of the Sharia Faculty at Herat University.


In southern Kandahar province, protestors voiced their concern at the international community’s silence on the ongoing tension between the neighbours. University students torched Pakistan’s flag and assured Afghan forces of solid support.


In case of need, students would quit their institutions and join their security forces in fighting against the aggressors, said their representative, Mohammad Zahir. The Afghans could no longer tolerate Pakistan’s aggressive designs, he added.

Syria ‘Cut Off from the Internet’ Once Again

Syria ‘cut off from the internet’


File image of Khaled al-Khatib the chief editor of Suria Al-Hurra newspaper in Aleppo It is not known what has caused the latest outage

Internet services have halted across Syria, in what appears to be the second shutdown in six months.

Web monitoring companies reported regular traffic on the internet plummeted to zero just before 19:00 GMT on Tuesday (22:00 local time).

Syria last experienced a shutdown for three days in November 2012.

The government blamed that incident on “terrorists”, but internet experts said it was more likely that the government had deliberately shut down the web.

The regime of President Bashar al-Assad has been fighting a bloody internal conflict for two years.

Activists suggested at the time of the last internet shutdown that the government might have been planning a major offensive, or that it might have been attempting to disrupt rebel communications.

However, neither theory was substantiated.

US web companies including Renesys and Akamai logged the latest blackout late on Tuesday.

Jim Cowie of Renesys told the BBC there was not enough information to tell what had caused the latest blackout.

“It seems to be very similar in terms of the dynamic to the event that took place last November in that the routes to the Syrian internet were withdrawn very suddenly and all together, almost like a switch being thrown,” he said.

“One can always speculate about whether it is infrastructure damage, or power outage at a critical facility or simply someone deciding to turn off the internet.”

Syrian residents confirmed the blackout, but said mobile phones and landlines were working normally.

Iranian Press Reports Putin Allegedly Threatens Netanyahu Over Damascus Attacks

Russia Not to Tolerate Further Israeli Attacks on Damascus


TEHRAN (FNA)- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while in Shanghai, was given a sharp dressing-down by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a warning that Russia would not tolerate further Israeli attacks on Damascus and would respond.

Putin did not say how, but he did announce he had ordered the acceleration of highly advanced Russian weapons supplies to Syria.

Israeli Debkafile’s military sources disclosed that the Russian leader was referring to S-300 anti-air systems and the nuclear-capable 9K720 Iskander (NATO named SS-26 Stone) surface missiles, which are precise enough to hit a target within a 5-7 meter radius at a distance of 280 kilometers.

In his phone call to Netanyahu, the Russian leader advised the prime minister to make sure to keep this in mind.

Since Syrian air defense teams have already trained in Russia on the handling of the S-300 interceptor batteries, they can go into service as soon as they are landed by one of Russia’s daily airlifts to Syria. Russian air defense officials will supervise their deployment and prepare them for operation.

Moscow is retaliating not just for Israel’s air operations against Syria but in anticipation of the Obama administration’s impending decision to send the first US arms shipments to the Syrian rebels.

Intelligence agencies in Moscow and the Middle-East take it for granted that by the time Washington goes public on this decision, some of the Syrian rebel factions will already be armed with American weapons.

That the measure was in the works was signified by the introduction Monday by chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Menendez of legislation allowing the US to provide arms and military training to the Syrian rebels.

US military instructors have been working with Syrian rebels at training camps in Jordan and Turkey for some months. So putting the arms in their hands only awaited a decision in Washington, the Israeli website alleged.

Putin’s message to Netanyahu was intended to reach a wider audience than Jerusalem, such as Barack Obama in Washington and President Xi Jinping in Beijing ahead of Netanyahu’s talks there Tuesday.