A crisis like no other.

THE assassination attempt on PTI leader Imran Khan has plunged the country into chaos at a time when tensions between the opposition and government were already spiralling out of control. Such violence is condemnable and unacceptable. It should have no place in the country whose tortuous history has seen assassinations of political leaders in the past.

The tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto is still painfully fresh in the nation's collective memory. But the attack on Khan last week also confirmed the worst fears of those who had been sounding an alarm about the increasingly explosive political situation descending into violence. Khan had frequently spoken about a threat to his life but carried on with his long march to press the demand for immediate elections.

After last week's shooting tempers of angry PTI supporters have been rising to a fever pitch. Protests broke out in many cities. In his first press conference since being shot, Imran Khan called for the resignation of the prime minister, federal interior minister and a senior intelligence official, accusing them of plotting to murder him.

He offered no evidence but called for public protests until this demand was accepted. He also said the long march would resume once he recovered. Khan's allegations prompted a strong response from ISPR, which emphatically rejected his 'baseless and irresponsible' accusations against the army.

Meanwhile, speculation continues to run rife about who was behind the attack on Khan's convoy and who would benefit from it. Few believe the attack was carried out by a lone assailant. PTI leaders insist there was more than one gunman.

Compounding the mystery was the prompt confessional video of the assailant released by Wazirabad's local police. In a polarised environment, partisanship has been dictating the response to the murderous attempt with conspiracy theories running rampant. The Punjab government has made matters worse by its inept handling of the incident.

Unless there is political calm it would be difficult to get to the bottom of what happened in an impartial way. Accusations before an investigation has taken place will only hinder and muddy the waters in the search for the truth. Both the government and opposition need to bring down the political temperature so that a credible and transparent investigation can get underway.

Never before did the country have to confront so many serious challenges in such a divided and fractured state.

The initial...

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