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Dozens of people are thought to be trapped in rubble after a factory collapsed in Lahore, Pakistan killing at least 17 people.

The factory, which was under construction, has collapsed on November 4.

A major rescue operation is under way, cranes and bulldozers are being used and the army is assisting in the rescue efforts.

The cause of the collapse is still unknown. Building safety levels are often below standard in Pakistan.Lahore factory collapse 2015

Two floors of the factory, in the Sundar Industrial Estate on the outskirts of the city, were operational, while a third was being built.

About 200 laborers are thought to have been in the building at the time of the incident, according to Jam Sajjad Hussain, a spokesman for the rescue services.

Other estimates in the Pakistani media have put the figure closer to 150 people.

Until now, 98 people had been pulled out alive and many were taken to hospital.

According to the rescue services, it was difficult to know exactly how many people were still trapped because the owner and administrative employees were among those inside the building.

The army has said that it is deploying a team of engineers and experts to take part in the rescue.

Former cricketer and leading Pakistani politician Imran Khan is recuperating in hospital after falling off a makeshift lift that was taking him onto a stage at an election rally in Lahore.

Doctors say that Imran Khan received stitches in the head and treatment for injuries to his spine.

But they say that his spinal cord has not been seriously damaged and he has been moved out of intensive care.

Meanwhile there has been more violence ahead of the elections.

At least three people have been killed and about 25 injured – including six policemen – in a suicide bombing outside a police station in the Bannu region of north-western Pakistan.

Police said that it was not clear if the target was the police station itself or a nearby rally being held by the Awami National Party (ANP).

The Pakistani Taliban have threatened to prevent the ANP, as well the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the MQM party, from conducting their election campaigns because they are considered by the militants to be too liberal.

Imran Khan is recuperating in hospital after falling off a makeshift lift that was taking him onto a stage at an election rally in Lahore

Imran Khan is recuperating in hospital after falling off a makeshift lift that was taking him onto a stage at an election rally in Lahore

Imran Khan – who had a total of 15 stitches in his head and suffered two minor back fractures – was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time of fall which may have helped protect him from more serious injury, his family said on Wednesday.

Hospital spokesman Khawaja Nazir told the AFP news agency that Imran Khan also had a small injury to his shoulder.

“There is nothing serious to his injuries. He has been shifted from the ICU (intensive care unit) to a private room,” he said.

In a televised statement from his hospital bed on Tuesday night, Imran Khan told his supporters that the election was their fight, not his. He urged voters to decide on polling day this Saturday whether they wanted to make a “new Pakistan”.

“The people should exert full force on 11 May to get their lives changed,” he said.

Nawaz Sharif, the man widely seen as the frontrunner to be the next prime minister, has sent his sympathies to Imran Khan and cancelled his election appearances for Wednesday.

Imran Khan is being treated at the cancer hospital in Lahore he arranged to be built after his mother’s death.

Doctors there said on Wednesday that he would have a CT scan later in the day and that he had been advised that he would need at least a week’s bed rest.

It is unclear whether the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party leader will take this advice.

His plan had been to keep up his punishing schedule of election rallies in these final two days of official campaigning.

Dramatic television pictures from Tuesday’s campaign rally showed Imran Khan falling about 15ft from the lift platform together with several others, some of whom appeared to land on top of him.

A dazed and bloodied Imran Khan was later seen being carried away by supporters to a vehicle which drove him to hospital.

Hundreds of people remain outside the hospital awaiting more news of his condition. Many chanted “Long live Imran Khan”.

The PTI leader has been campaigning relentlessly in the run-up to Saturday’s poll and briefly collapsed on stage earlier this week.

Imran Khan is one of the key candidates in the election, and the PTI appears to have been gaining momentum.

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