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Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram shot at in Karachi

Karachi: Pakistan's legendary cricketer and former captain Wasim Akram on Wednesday escaped unhurt when an unidentified person opened fire at him in a road rage incident in the city's busy Karsaz area.

The 49-year-old Akram, one of the best left-arm fast bowlers ever to play the game, was on his way to National Stadium where he was to conduct a training camp for young fast bowlers.

Unidentified gunmen open fire at former Pakistani cricket captain Wasim AkramPakistani cricket legend Wasim Akram (right) gives his statement to a police officer at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi on Wednesday after a gunman opened fire on his car in the southern port city. Pic/AFP

"A car hit mine, I stopped him and then this guy stepped out and fired at my car. When I asked the driver to come out he suddenly opened fire at me. He was definitely an official, I have noted the number of the car and given it to the police," Akram told reporters.

"I am still in shock. There was no threat. I was going to to stadium for the camp. Your (media) job is to find out who that person was. If he can do it with me, then you can imagine what he would do with the common man," Akram said. 

Initial reports had said the gunman did not aim at the cricketer. But Akram said the man had been about to shoot him when someone revealed who he was.

"He tried to shoot me, his gun was pointing at me, then people told him my identity and he fired at the side of my car. Had the people not told him about me, he would have shot me." he said.

A senior police official confirmed to PTI that a bullet had grazed the Mercedes car of the former captain who is presently supervising a fast bowlers camp at the stadium.

Apparently Akram's car met with an accident when another vehicle tried to jam it to one side after which he chased the passengers and blocked their vehicle. 

When heated words were exchanged, one of them suddenly opened fire on Akram, but he survived and the bullet grazed his vehicle, Gulshan area SP Abid Qaimkhani said.

Speaking to the media outside the National Stadium, Deputy Inspector General East Munir Sheikh said the episode was a clear case of road rage.

"According to preliminary investigation, the incident appears to be a case of road rage. But we cannot say clearly what the motive behind the attack on Wasim Akram was.

"We have identified the car from CCTV footage and will have the suspect in custody in a couple of hours," Sheikh said. 

The former captain visited the office of DIG East and recorded his statement before the police.

Akram's manager Arsalan Hyder said, "Wasim was driving himself, and the car next to him tried to jam his car to one
side and opened fire. He did not get hit." 

The pace legend called the police helpline and registered the complaint following which police rushed to the spot.

The incident drew widespread condemnation from former cricketers such as former captain Imran Khan, Saqlain Mushtaq, Moin Khan, Shahid Afridi and Rashid Latif as well as political personalities.

Akram made his international debut with an ODI against New Zealand in 1984 and was rated as one of the all-time great left-arm fast bowlers.

He took 414 wickets in 104 Test matches and another 502 wickets in 356 One-day internationals before retiring soon after the 2003 World Cup. 

After quitting cricket, Akram became a sports commentator and started coaching Pakistani bowlers. He is also the bowling coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League. 

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