Pakistani cricket star politician leaves hospital

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistani cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan left a hospital Wednesday, more than two weeks after he suffered serious back injuries in a fall from a forklift at a campaign event, a spokesman said.

Khan will remain at his home in the eastern city of Lahore for a while so that doctors can monitor his progress, said the spokesman for the cricketer's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, Naeemul Haq.

"Thank God, Imran can walk," said Haq. "He is now at his home after being discharged from the hospital."

Khan fractured three vertebrae and a rib when he fell 4.5 meters (15 feet) off a forklift that was raising him to a stage at a campaign event in Lahore on May 7.

The accident, which was broadcast on TV, largely knocked Khan out of the final days of campaigning ahead of national elections, held on May 11. He later delivered video messages to his supporters from his hospital bed.

Khan, who is revered in Pakistan for leading the national team that won the 1992 cricket World Cup, ran an election campaign that energized the country's youth. He criticized traditional politicians as corrupt and declared it was time for change in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 180 million people.

The Pakistan Muslim League-N party, led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was able to weather the challenge by Khan in the election. Sharif's party scored a resounding victory, winning close to a majority of the 272 directly-elected national assembly seats. It is expected to form the next government.

Khan's party fell well short of its prediction that it would sweep the election, but still improved on its past performance. It won at least 28 National Assembly seats, compared to only one seat in the 2002 election.

The Pakistani Taliban tried to disrupt the election with deadly attacks in the run-up to the vote. But over 46 million citizens ignored the danger and came out to vote, a turnout of about 55 percent of registered voters, according to the election commission.