Former President Pervez Musharraf narrowly escaped being hit by a shoe at a meeting with some of his supporters in London.
According to APML source, a man stood up about five minutes after Musharraf started speaking and hurled a shoe at him. The shoe did not reach the stage on which the former president was standing and landed in the front row.
Musharraf was speaking at an event for his supporters organised by the All Pakistan Muslim League, the new political party created by the former military dictator to contest in electoral politics in Pakistan. The meeting was being held in the Walthamstow area of London, an area with a substantial population of people of Pakistani origin. About 1,500 people were in attendance.
The man who threw the shoe was quickly removed from the event by security personnel. The man’s identity is unclear at this stage, as is the motivation for his outburst.
He was not alone in protesting the former president, however. The source said that at least two other people also protested at the event.
The former president joins his successor, current President Asif Ali Zardari, as the second Pakistani politician to face an attempted footwear assault by a political opponent in the United Kingdom. On 7 August 2010, President Zardari was assaulted with a shoe by an attendee of one of his speeches in Birmingham, another area of the UK known to have a large population of Pakistani-origin Britons. The shoe did not hit Zardari either.
Musharraf left office in August 2008 after spending almost 9 years at the helm of affairs in Pakistan. He has since spent much of his time in self-imposed exile in London, though he has recently made trips to Dubai to meet with groups of politicians who may be interested in joining his new political party.