Imran Khan claims his remarks on Salman Rushdie’s stabbing ‘taken out of context’

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday claimed that his remarks in a British newspaper regarding the attempted murder of Mumbai-born author Salman Rushdie were “taken out of context”.
Rushdie, 75, was stabbed by a 24-year-old New Jersey resident identified as Hadi Matar, the US national of Lebanese origin, on stage last week while he was being introduced at a literary event of the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York.
He suffered three stab wounds to his neck, four stab wounds to his stomach, puncture wounds to his right eye and chest, and a laceration on his right thigh, Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said during the suspect’s arraignment.
In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Khan condemned the knife attack on Rushdie, claiming that the anger of Muslims against the author was understandable but didn’t justify the attack.
“I think it is terrible, sad,” Imran told the publication in a comment on the violent attack that put Rushdie on a ventilator.
However, the official Twitter account for the Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman (PTI), clarified that Imran’s statement was “taken out of context”, and that he had refused to attend a seminar in India in 2012 because Rushdie was also invited, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
“In the interview, I explained the Islamic method of punishing blasphemers,” he said.
The PTI chief maintained that he had given the example of the Sialkot tragedy and had spoken of Rushdie in a similar context. Imran was referring to the brutal lynching of a Sri Lankan man in Sialkot over blasphemy allegations, the report said.
“Rushdie understood because he came from a Muslim family. He knows the love, respect, and reverence of the prophet that lives in our hearts. He knew that. So, the anger I understood, but you can’t justify what happened,” the PTI chief had stated earlier in his interview with The Guardian.
Rushdie, who was born in India to a Muslim Kashmiri family, has lived with a bounty on his head and spent nine years in hiding under British police protection.
Rushdie’s fourth book ‘The Satanic Verses’, released in 1988, forced him into hiding for nine years.
The late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini accused Rushdie of blasphemy over the book and in 1989 issued a fatwa against him, calling for his death. Rushdie’s writing has led to death threats from Iran, which has offered a USD 3 million reward for anyone who kills him.

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