NAROWAL – Police have arrested an armed man who fired shots at Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal when he was leaving a corner meeting in his hometown on Sunday.
Iqbal, who belongs to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), suffered a bullet wound in his right arm when an armed attacker opened fire on him in Kanjrur area of Shakargarh, DPO Imran Kishwar told the reporters.
The attacker was identified as 21-year-old Abid Hussain who was immediately nabbed by the security personnel present on the occasion. For further interrogation, the attacker has been shifted to the undisclosed location. Hussain hails from a local village.
The attacker used a 30-bore pistol to fire at Iqbal from a distance of around 20 yards, the officer said.
The minister was immediately shifted to a nearby hospital in Narowal, where he is currently being treated.
Federal Minister Interior Ahsan Iqbal was taken to a local hospital for emergency treatment. He will be immediately flown to Lahore on special instructions of Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif pic.twitter.com/yfWBQKawUu
— PTV News (@PTVNewsOfficial) May 6, 2018
Punjab Government spokesman Malik Ahmed Khan confirmed Ahsan Iqbal was out of danger.
One of the shooter has been arrested and being interrogated by the police. Ahsan Iqbal is being treated at DHQ hospital Narowal.
— Govt Of The Punjab (@GovtOfPunjab) May 6, 2018
Punjab Chief Minister and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif, after a telephonic contact with the minister, sent his special helicopter to airlift Iqbal to Lahore.
The attacker has been identified as Abid Hussain, a 21-year-old man from a Narowal village.
President Mamnoon Hussain and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa condemned the attack by lone assassin.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi ordered the Inspector General of Punjab to “trace the attack planners and submit report in 24 hours”.
Security has been beefed at the entry and exit points of the city, with Police and Rangers troops deployed at the minister’s house and the District Headquarters Hospital.
Condemnations pour in
Former president Asif Ali Zardari has also condemned the attack on Ahsan Iqbal. “We have to put a stop to such incidents” said the PPP co-chairman.
“Hope he recovers soon and thoughts, prayers with his family,” said Leader of the Opposition in Senate Sherry Rehman.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also condemned the attack, praying for the minister’s speedy recovery.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, in a tweet, condemned the attack.
Strongly condemn attack on Ahsan Iqbal today.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) May 6, 2018
PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry strongly condemned the attack in a tweet.
PTI strongly condemn Attack on Interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, culprit must be apprehended as son as possible pic.twitter.com/xsBTUWOJ9S
— Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) May 6, 2018
Shireen Mazari and Asad Umar of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) also condemned the attack and wished the minister quick recovery.
Shocking and totally condemnable attack on Int Min Ahsan Iqbal. Wishing him a speedy recovery. Political differences notwithstanding, physical targeting of any politician is simply not acceptable. Sadly, intolerance and violence are becoming endemic in our society.
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) May 6, 2018
Condemn the attack on ahsan iqbal. Allah jald shifayab karey and hope the attackers are caught and punished as quickly as possible @betterpakistan
— Asad Umar (@Asad_Umar) May 6, 2018
Strongly condemn the incident of firing on Ahsan Iqbal. I hope his injury is a minor one and he recovers quickly. May Allah keep us all safe whatever our personal political beliefs .
— Jahangir Khan Tareen (@JahangirKTareen) May 6, 2018
Sunday’s incident comes as Iqbal’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is due to complete its tenure later this month before the country holds new elections.