Ex-Pakistan PM Imran Khan's aide attacked with acid in UK

Mirza Shahzad Akbar avoided serious injury in the attack at his home in Hertfordshire

The attack on Mirza Shahzad Akbar, pictured in 2013, reportedly left him with minor burns to his head, face and arms AFP
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An aide to Pakistan’s former prime minister, Imran Khan, has been attacked with sulphuric acid at his home in Hertfordshire, where he is living in exile.

Mirza Shahzad Akbar said an unknown assailant threw “acidic liquid” at him on his doorstep.

“Thankfully my wife and children are safe, however I got some injuries but nothing life-threatening,” he said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Police and emergency services arrived instantly and house being protected now. I will not be intimidated nor bow down to those who are doing this.”

In another post on X in Urdu, he describes the assailant as a “tyrant”.

“The tyrants will not be successful in their intentions and will be exposed soon,” he said.

The incident, which took place in front of his four year-old daughter, reportedly left him with minor burns to his head, face and arms. He was wearing glasses, which protected his eyesight, but the lenses were badly damaged.

Mr Akbar, a barrister, previously worked as the head of asset recovery for a unit that investigated politicians and officials suspected of stealing. He later became a minister in Mr Khan’s cabinet before settling in the UK after Mr Khan was ousted. He lives in Royston, Hertfordshire.

Hertfordshire Police said: “Police were contacted by the ambulance service just before 4.45pm on Sunday to reports of an assault in Royston.

“It is believed an acidic solution was used. A 44-year-old man received hospital treatment and has now been discharged. Safety of any victim is paramount and we believe this is an isolated incident. Active enquiries are under way.”

Meanwhile, a Pakistani court on Tuesday ordered a public trial in prison of Mr Khan on charges of revealing official secrets, his lawyer said.

The popular opposition politician is already behind bars on a corruption charge but is facing a slew of other cases.

The ruling means journalists and supporters of Mr Khan can attend the trial, which will be held in prison because authorities say it is too dangerous for him to appear in a regular courtroom.

The trial will determine whether Mr Khan breached official secrets acts by waving around a confidential diplomatic letter after he was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament in April 2022.

Mr Khan has not appeared in public since August, when he was sentenced to three years for corruption.

Though the Islamabad High Court subsequently suspended that sentence, he remained in custody on charges of revealing official secrets.

Mr Khan was indicted for allegedly revealing a secret document. Legal experts say the charges carry a possible death sentence.

Imran Khan's court case – in pictures

The document – dubbed Cipher – has not been made public by either the government or Khan’s lawyers but was apparently diplomatic correspondence between the Pakistani ambassador to Washington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.

Mr Khan's lawyers are fighting a legal battle to get bail for him ahead of Pakistan's February 8 parliamentary elections. According to analysts, Mr Khan’s party still could win the most seats, but he is not eligible to run for parliament due to his conviction in the corruption case.

Updated: November 28, 2023, 12:48 PM