Pakistan's interior minister shot and wounded after public meeting

Posted May 10, 2018

Leader of the House Raja Zafar-ul-Haq apprised the house about the health of Ahsan Iqbal and expressed satisfaction that his condition was stable.

Police arrested a suspect with a pistol that they identified as 21-year-old Abid Hussain.

Iqbal, who was shot in the arm Sunday evening during a rally in his constituency Narowal, is now under treatment in Lahore.

District Police Officer (DPO) Imran Kishwar had told reporters that the suspect had managed to slip into the gathering carrying a 30-bore weapon, which he later pulled out and fired at the minister.

Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize victor Malala Yousafzai, called the attempted assassination a "bad omen for upcoming general elections that are supposed to be free, fair, and transparent".

However, the bullet that entered Iqbal's abdomen was not removed as pulling it out could have proved to be risky, as per the doctors.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Punjab province police chief Arif Nawaz Khan should immediately submit a report on the incident.

An official at the Services Hospital here said that the surgery was successful and Iqbal is recovering well.

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An earlier notification issued by the provincial police department today had stated that the DIG Investigation Waqas Nazeer would head the five-member JIT.

"The attacker was about to fire a second shot when police and people in the meeting overpowered him", he said.

Iqbal's son confirmed that his father is out of danger.

The amendment was hastily reversed in 2017 after it was deemed by the previously little-known Islamist group to be blasphemous.

Police said Hussain had made a confessional statement saying "he acted alone because his religious sentiments were hurt by the PML-N governments decision".

After the shooting he was rushed first to a local hospital and then airlifted to Lahore, where video footage released by his ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party showed him being lowered from a helicopter on a stretcher, his eyes open as he responded to questions.

The elections are expected this summer, but observers say the ballot could be delayed. Considered the brains behind the party's development agenda, he previously headed up the planning ministry.

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