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Pakistani Candidate Shoots Himself

October 9, 2002

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PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) _ A candidate in parliamentary elections shot himself in the hand at a news conference Wednesday after promising photographers and journalists that he was about to give them a surprise.

The man, Khurshid Khan, was upset because of a decision by local members of the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians, or PPPP, not to field a candidate for Thursday’s vote in this northwestern border city. The party is headed by former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who has been barred from running and is living in self-imposed exile.

After the local officials decided not to back his candidacy, Khan chose to run as an independent. He said that by shooting himself in the hand he was showing PPPP leaders with his blood that he was still with them.

Khan spoke during a 40 minute joint news conference, then got up abruptly and took a pistol out of his side pocket as journalists and other speakers stood in shock. A moment later he pointed the gun at his left hand and pulled the trigger, spraying blood over the podium.

``I want to pledge my allegiance to the PPPP, and Benazir with my blood,″ he said after shooting himself.

Supporters wrapped Khan’s hand in a towel and rushed him to a hospital. Despite the incident, Khan decided not to withdraw his candidacy in Thursday’s vote.

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