Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, who was injured in a fall at an election meeting, has made a dramatic appeal to the people from his hospital bed to vote for his party in the May 11 polls and help build a "new Pakistan".
"On May 11, remember it is written in the Quran that Allah says He does not change the condition of any people till they change their condition themselves. You have to come out to change your condition and don't see which candidate is standing for the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, vote for the view and ticket of the party," Khan said.
"Politics of personalities and caste have spoilt Pakistan. Vote for Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf candidates so that together we can make a new Pakistan," he said in a brief video that showed him lying on the hospital bed with a collar under his neck.
"I have fought for Pakistan for 17 years. I have done whatever I could, now I want you to take over your responsibilities. If you want to change your fate, you will have to take responsibility," said Khan, who sustained injuries to the head and back after he and three bodyguards tumbled from a forklift that was hoisting them to a makeshift stage.
"Now I want all of you to make an effort to change your lives. On May 11, consider it your battle, not my battle, a battle for the country to change your fate, the fate of your children," said the PTI leader, who was shown lying flat on the hospital bed.
"You have to fight the battle for your children's future. You have to decide whether you want to continue like this or you want to make a new Pakistan, a country where you have rights, respect and live like humans with justice," he said.
Khan, 60, and his bodyguards were standing on a pile of wooden pallets that were not properly balanced. One of the bodyguards lost his balance and pulled the others off the forklift as he fell.
The cricketer-turned-politician was taken to his ShaukatKhanumHospital, where doctors admitted him to the intensive care unit so that he could be monitored round the clock.
Party officials said he had suffered fractures of the skull and two vertebrae but was out of danger. Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf leaders acknowledged that Khan would no longer be able to head the party's campaign.
Campaigning for Pakistan's landmark general election will end on May 9, two days ahead of the polling. Doctors said the fractures suffered by Khan had not affected his brain or spinal cord and that he had been advised bed rest.
Khan's gruelling campaign, during which he addressed as many as eight rallies a day, had attracted thousands of people and he is widely tipped to emerge as a strong challenger to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in the most populous province of Punjab.
Photograph: Rescue workers carry injured Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan after he fell from a makeshift elevator during his election campaign rally in Lahore.
Credit: Mohsin Raza/Reuters