8 May 2013

Imran Khan injured at election rally

3:15 pm on 8 May 2013

Hundreds of people are holding a vigil outside a hospital in Pakistan where one of the country's most prominent politicians, Imran Khan, is being treated after a fall at an election rally.

The former cricket star suffered head injuries and has reportedly fractured his back after falling off a makeshift lift that was taking him onto a stage on Tuesday.

Dramatic television pictures showed Mr Khan falling about five metres together with several others, some of whom appeared to land on top of him.

A dazed and bloodied Mr Khan was later seen being carried away by supporters to a vehicle which drove him to a local hospital, the BBC reports.

After receiving initial treatment he was moved to Lahore's Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, which he founded. A spokesperson for the hospital said Mr Khan's condition was stable.

Mr Khan later appeared on television from his hospital bed and urged Pakistanis to vote in Saturday's parliamentary elections, in which his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party is expected to do well.

"I have fought for Pakistan all my life. I've done whatever I could - now I want you to take responsibility. If you want to change your fate, then you have to take responsibility."

Mr Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, has been campaigning relentlessly in the run-up to parliamentary elections and briefly collapsed on stage earlier this week.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif - who leads the rival Pakistan Muslim League-N and is slightly ahead of Mr Khan in the polls - announced that he was suspending his campaign for a day, out of respect for his opponent.