NAROWAL: Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader and Interior Minsiter Ahsan Iqbal Sunday was shot at and injured during a corner meeting in Narowal’s Kanjrur tehsil on Sunday.
The minister got injured due to gunshots fired by an assailant. He received bullet injury to his right arm. He was immediately transported to district hospital Narowal for medical treatment and was later shifted to Lahore in a helicopter.
The incident took place while he was leaving after attending a meeting at MPA Rana Manan’s residence in Kanjrur town of Narowal.
Police sources said the assailant, who was arrested soon after the incident, has been identified as Abid Hussain, 21.
District Police Officer (DPO) Narowal Imran Kishwar confirmed that Ahsan Iqbal was out of danger. He said bullet was fired from a distance of 15 yards. He said the assaulter was a local resident and he was shifted to an undisclosed location for further interrogation.
Reportedly, intelligence agencies had alerted Ahsan Iqbal five days ago for beefing up his personal security and avoid public gatherings. He was also reportedly told that an attack could take place in Narowal rally.
Ahmed Iqbal, son of Ahsan Iqbal, said that first aid was given to his father at the DHQ. “My father is out of danger now, but we are shifting him to Lahore for medical care,” he said, urging the nation to pray for his father’s recovery.
Talking to a private channel, Minister of State for Interior Talal Chaudhry said that Ahsan Iqbal has received a bullet in his shoulder and he has been shifted to hospital. He said the person, who carried out firing has been arrested.
“A 22-year-old person has been arrested,” he said, adding that the interior minister may be shifted to Lahore if required. “By the Grace of Gold, Ahsan Iqbal is out of danger.”
Taking notice of the incident, Inspector General Punjab Police Arif Nawaz has sought report from the DPO and said strict action should be taken against the culprit.
Spokesperson Punjab Government Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan said medical treatment was provided to him and he will be further treated in Lahore.
In an interview, DPO Narowal Imran Kishwar said the Interior Minister received a bullet in an arm, and his condition is out of danger. He said the accused, identified as Abid Hussain, has been arrested. The spokesman for Punjab government said the accused belongs to a local village.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has strongly condemned the attack on the Interior Minister and sought a report of the incident from IG Police Punjab.
Punjab Governor Rafique Rajwana and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also condemned the incident.
Talking to Radio Pakistan, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb prayed for the early recovery of Ahsan Iqbal. She said criticism of providing security to dignitaries is unjustified at a time when the country is fighting terror.
Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto and other PPP leaders also condemned the attack on Ahsan Iqbal. “We have to put a stop to such incidents” said the PPP co-chairman.
“PTI strongly condemns attack on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal,” Fawad Chaudhry tweeted. PTI chief also send a short tweet condemning the incident.
“Political differences notwithstanding, physical targeting of any politician is simply not acceptable. Sadly, intolerance and violence are becoming endemic in our society,” PTI’s Shireen Mazari said in her tweet.
Also condemning the incident, Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq demanded that the hidden elements behind the incident be uncovered.
Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa also condemned the incident and sent his best wishes for Iqbal’s early recovery. NNI/Agencies