Pakistan interior minister Ahsan Iqbal shot during rally, suspect held
Pakistan interior minister Ahsan Iqbal was rushed to a hospital in Narowal, where his condition was said to be stable.Updated: May 06, 2018 23:54 IST
Pakistan’s interior minister Ahsan Iqbal was shot and wounded in an apparent assassination attempt on Sunday as he left a rally in the central province of Punjab.
The 59-year-old Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader was attacked during the party’s corner meeting in Qasba Kanjrod area of his constituency of Narowal. A staunch ally of ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, Iqbal is one of the most senior figures in the government as well as in PML-N.
Police arrested the attacker, identified as Abid Hussain, a man in his twenties. Local media reported that the attacker belonged to a religious party but his motivation was not immediately known.
District Police Officer Imran Kishwar said the attacker used a 30-bore pistol to fire at Iqbal from a close range of around 18 metres.
“One of the shooters has been arrested and (is) being interrogated by the police,” Punjab government said in a Twitter message.
The incident took place when Iqbal was leaving the meeting held at the residence of a state assembly member.
Police said the minister received two bullets to his arm.
Junior interior Tallal Chaudry as well as doctors told local media that Iqbal was out of danger.
Iqbal was taken to the district headquarters hospital in Narowal and operated upon. He is to be airlifted later to Lahore for further treatment, family sources said.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi “strongly condemned” the attack and called for an immediate report into the incident by the chief of police in Punjab province.
The assassination attempt is likely to heighten political tensions ahead of general elections expected in late July.
(With inputs from agencies)