Flower and get-well messages for Imran Khan are placed outside the hospital in Lahore. Photo: AFP
LAHORE: Imran Khan is nursing three fractured vertebrae and a broken rib, and doctors have recommended he stay in hospital at least a week, meaning he will watch his bid for the prime ministership of Pakistan from bed.
Mr Khan fell from a forklift that was lifting him up onto stage at a rally in Lahore on Tuesday night. He fell, along with three bodyguards, nearly five metres onto the ground.
The important thing is that the spinal canal is intact and Mr Khan is in full control of his limbs . . . there are no neurological compromises.Hospital chief executive Faisal Sultan
Mr Khan was reportedly wearing a bullet-proof vest, which may have saved him from further injury.
Party volunteers prepare campaign posters of Imran Khan in Lahore ahead of Saturday's election. Photo: Getty Images
He is convalescing at Shaukat Khanum Hospital in Lahore. Hospital chief executive Faisal Sultan said Mr Khan would make a full recovery.
“The important thing is that the spinal canal is intact and Mr Khan is in full control of his limbs . . . there are no neurological compromises,” Mr Sultan said.
Mr Khan, Pakistan's former cricket captain, is the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, which has been climbing rapidly in opinion polls. His party is not expected to win Saturday's poll, but widespread disenchantment with established political parties – over corruption, Pakistan's moribund economy and failing power supplies – could deliver Mr Khan a swath of seats and influence in the next parliament.
Supporters maintained a vigil for Mr Khan in the grounds of the hospital. Others left flowers and posters declaring their support at the front gate.
Mohammad Iqbal from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province waited outside the hospital all day for news of Mr Khan's condition.
“I love Imran Khan like a brother. He will save Pakistan. Before, no one wanted to vote [because of election violence], but now we are not afraid, Khan has given us strength. I am praying for him.”
In further election violence at least three people were killed and more than 25 injured, including six police officers, in a suicide bombing outside a police station in the Bannu region of north-west Pakistan.
It was unclear whether the target was the police station itself or a nearby rally being held by the secular Awami National Party.
The Taliban have vowed to attack anyone associated with the election, which it regards as unIslamic, but secular parties have been the main targets of its attacks.
More than 100 people have died in election-related violence since campaigning began in April.