LAHORE: Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan who survived an assassination attempt has hailed the man who foiled the attack and apprehended the shooter during his long march in Punjab province as the country's ''hero''.
Khan, 70, suffered a bullet injury in the right leg on Thursday when two gunmen fired a volley of bullets at him and others mounting on a container-mounted truck in the Wazirabad area of Punjab province, where he was leading a protest march against the Shehbaz Sharif government.
A day later on Friday, Khan met with Ibtisam, who foiled the attack and apprehended the shooter during the march, at the Shaukat Khanum Hospital here where he is being treated for the bullet wounds which pierced through his lower limbs, causing a fracture, the Geo News reported.
''You are Pakistan's hero. You showed immense courage. It felt very nice,'' Khan told Ibtisam.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman also signed an autograph for his saviour on the same shirt that he wore while apprehending the shooter who is currently in the custody of Punjab Police.
Meanwhile, Khan's ex-wives have also condemned the assassination attempt.
The cricketer-turned-politician has married thrice. His previous two marriages have ended in divorce.
His first marriage was with Jemima Goldsmith, daughter of a British billionaire, in 1995, which lasted 9 years. Khan has two sons from her. His second marriage with TV anchor Reham Khan in 2015 ended after 10 months.
In 2018, Khan married for the third time with his ''spiritual guide'' Bushra Maneka.
Goldsmith, the ex-wife of Khan, expressed relief as her former husband is stable after the assassination attempt. She also called Ibtisam a ''hero''.
She also conveyed their sons' gratitude to the man who caught the attacker.
"The news we dread... Thank God he's okay. And thank you from his sons to the heroic man in the crowd who tackled the gunman," 48-year-old Goldsmith, who separated from Khan in 2004, tweeted.
Reham Khan tweeted, ''Firing on PTI chairman Imran Khan & other party members is shocking & condemnable. Security for public events for all our politicians must be ensured by provincial/federal law enforcement & our agencies.''