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What We're Watching: Pakistan’s former PM shot, Olaf goes to Beijing

A supporter of Pakistan's former PM Imran Khan in Karachi gestures following the shooting incident on his long march in Wazirabad.

A supporter of Pakistan's former PM Imran Khan in Karachi gestures following the shooting incident on his long march in Wazirabad.


Imran Khan survives assassination attempt

Pakistan’s former PM Imran Khan — aka “Kaptaan” for his cricket accolades and lead-from-the-front style of populist politics — survived an assassination attempt on Thursday during his “Long March” to Islamabad. Khan was shot in the leg as his truck-driven stage rolled through the central Pakistani city of Wazirabad, and he was rushed to a hospital in Lahore, where he was eventually declared stable. Eight other members of his entourage were also injured, and one party worker was killed. At least one alleged gunman was challenged and apprehended by a brave bystander. “He was misleading people and I couldn’t take it,” the suspect said in a leaked confession to police. “I tried to kill only him.” Meanwhile, Khan’s party accused PM Shehbaz Sharif's government of plotting the attack and threatened protests nationwide if they weren’t removed from power. As if on cue, widespread protests kicked off against military and government officials. Khan, who was removed from office last April, has been demanding snap elections, but so far he’s been ignored. Despite his party sweeping by-elections, mass rallies, and his summoning of unprecedented support against the military, the political establishment hasn’t blinked. Will this attack force their hand?

Germany & EU at odds over China

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made on Friday a very controversial trip to Beijing, as the first major European leader to visit China since Russia invaded Ukraine. It was a swift one – Scholz’s team didn’t even spend the night in Beijing due to China's zero-COVID policy. For the leader of the EU's largest economy, the trip is all about biz, which explains why he was accompanied by top German CEOs. But for the rest of Europe, going to Beijing right after Xi Jinping's coronation at the 20th Congress of China's ruling Communist Party sends the wrong political message right when Brussels wants to reduce its economic and trade dependence on China — like it's done with Russian fossil fuels over Ukraine. What's more, the two junior partners in Scholz's three-way coalition government — the left-wing Greens and the centrist FDP — are also uneasy about the trip. In fact, six ministers blasted the chancellor for recently approving a deal for Chinese shipping giant Cosco to acquire 25% of Hamburg's port container terminal. Scholz is following the playbook of his former boss, Angela Merkel, on keeping warm ties with China because he wants German businesses to make big bucks, but perhaps he didn't read the room on the optics and timing of the trip.


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