x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Imran Khan leaves hospital after election rally fall

Pakistani politician leaves hospital, two weeks after breaking bones in his back in a fall at a rally before Pakistan's general election.

Imran Khan left hospital a fortnight after sustaining serious back injuries in a fall from a forklift at a campaign event.
Imran Khan left hospital a fortnight after sustaining serious back injuries in a fall from a forklift at a campaign event.

LAHORE // Pakistani politician Imran Khan left hospital yesterday, two weeks after breaking bones in his back in a fall at a rally for the country's general election.

The 60-year-old former cricket star was ordered to remain immobile in bed after he fractured vertebrae and a rib in a dramatic tumble from a hoist lifting him to a stage just days before the May 11 general election.

Mr Khan, who leads the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party, electrified much of the campaign with his calls for reform and galvanised many young people to vote but was forced to spend polling day in hospital.

Khwaja Nazir, a spokesman for the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital in the eastern city of Lahore where Mr Khan was being treated, said that the Pakistani politician had been discharged and had returned to his home in the city.

"He would stay in his Lahore home for three days and then would be shifted to his home in Islamabad," Mr Nazir said. "Doctors have advised him rest for two more weeks."

On Tuesday, Mr Khan took his first steps since the injury and a video on the hospital's Facebook page yesterday showed him walking gingerly but unaided from his third-floor room to the exit.

He has been fitted with a specially designed spinal brace, which doctors say he will have to wear for some time.

"Imran will continue to receive regular physiotherapy and will need to wear a spinal support for some weeks to come," the hospital spokesman said.

"Imran will gradually increase physical activity over the next few weeks with a return to his full functional capacity expected in approximately six to eight weeks."

The election was won by the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif but the PTI scored a major breakthrough to finish in third place with 28 national assembly seats, according to partial results.

Though the "tsunami" predicted by Khan did not sweep PTI to power in Islamabad, the result represented a huge achievement for a party that had only ever won one national assembly seat before, in 2002.