Pakistani Interior Minister Injured in Political Rally Shooting

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was shot and injured by unknown assailants in Narowal's tehsil Kanjrur here on Sunday sources informed Geo News

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was shot and injured by unknown assailants in Narowal's tehsil Kanjrur here on Sunday sources informed Geo News

Pakistan's Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was wounded in an apparent assassination attempt yesterday (May 6), officials said, an incident likely to heighten political tensions ahead of general elections expected in late July.

The minister was shot and injured by a single bullet on Sunday evening during a rally in his hometown Narowal, a district in Punjab.

The shooter carried out the attack over a minor amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear, which was quickly reversed previous year after it was linked to blasphemy, local deputy commissioner Ali Anan Qamar said.

Iqbal, a close aide of ousted Premier Nawaz Sharif, is considered to be the man behind the ruling party's economic agenda; he led the Planning and Development Ministry and the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.

It is worth mentioning here that the 22-year-old Abid Hussain who fired at Ahsan Iqbal in Kanjroor Town of Narowal's Shakargarh Tehsil confessed to police after being apprehended that he had attacked the interior minister due to Khatam-e-Nabuwwat issue.

Iqbal was rushed to a nearby hospital and later airlifted to a hospital in the provincial capital Lahore where he underwent two surgeries.

The suspected shooter was later taken into custody.

Reuters cited a police report that said Hussain was affiliated with an Islamist political party called Tehrik-e Labaik, which focuses on fighting what its members deem to be blasphemy against Islam. "We wish him a speedy recovery", Ambassador David Hale said in a statement.

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The chief minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif, condemned the attack and said Iqbal was "in high spirits".

Thankfully, the people standing around the assailant overpowered him before he could fire a second shot at his target.

He said the bullet had also penetrated the right elbow joint of the minister.

The party is calling for the aggressive enforcement of Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

Condemning the assassination attempt, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi asked the Punjab police chief to submit an immediate report on the incident.

"PML-N will not be browbeaten into submission", said Shehbaz, dropping a hint that the shooting may be a work of the anti-PML-N forces whom his brother and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has lately been dubbing as "aliens".

Iqbal was once seen as a potential prime minister when Nawaz Sharif was ousted by the Supreme Court past year.

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