ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed on Saturday that his remarks in a British newspaper regarding the attempted murder of Mumbai-born author Salman Rushdie had been “taken out of context”.
Rushdie, 75, was stabbed by a 24-year-old New Jersey resident identified as Hadi Matar, the American national of Lebanese descent, on stage last week while featured at a Chautauqua literary event Institution in Western New York.
He suffered three stab wounds to the neck, four stab wounds to the stomach, punctures to his right eye and chest and a laceration to his right thigh, Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said. when the suspect is charged.
In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Khan condemned the knife offensive on Rushdie, saying Muslim anger at the author was understandable but did not justify the attack.
“I think it’s terrible, sad,” Imran told the publication in a comment about the violent attack that put Rushdie on a ventilator.
However, the official Twitter account of the president of Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), clarified that Imran’s statement had been “taken out of context”, and that he had refused to attend a seminar in India in 2012 because Rushdie was also a guest there. The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
“In the interview, I explained the Islamic method to punish blasphemers,” he said.
The PTI leader maintained that he gave the example of the Sialkot tragedy and spoke of Rushdie in a similar context. Imran was referring to the brutal lynching of a Sri Lankan man in Sialkot over allegations of blasphemy, according to the report.
“Rushdie understood because he came from a Muslim family. He knows the love, respect and reverence of the prophet who lives in our hearts. He knew it. So the anger I understood, but you cannot justify what happened,” the PTI chief had said earlier in his interview with The Guardian.
Rushdie, who was born in India to a Kashmiri Muslim family, lived with a bounty on his head and spent nine years in hiding under the protection of British police.
Rushdie’s fourth book “The Satanic Verses”, released in 1988, forced him into hiding for nine years.
Iran’s late 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 writings led to death threats from Iran, which offered a $3 million reward for anyone who killed him.

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