Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was shot at and injured during a corner meeting in Narowal’s Kanjrur tehsil on Sunday, in what Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif described as an “assassination attempt”.
CM Punjab said that he had spoken to the interior minister who “is in high spirits”.
“Those who indulged in this heinous act will be brought to justice. PML-N will not be browbeaten into submission,” he said in a Twitter message.
Police said Iqbal sustained a bullet wound in his right shoulder.
According to DawnNewsTV, Iqbal was initially shifted to District Headquarters Hospital Narowal following the attack, but will be airlifted in a helicopter to Lahore where he will receive further medical treatment, family sources confirmed.
The suspected shooter has been taken into custody, District Police Officer (DPO) Imran Kishwar told DawnNewsTV. The suspected attacker, identified as a local 20 to 22-year-old youth, shot at Iqbal with a 30-bore pistol from a distance of 20 yards.
“One of the shooters has been arrested and [is] being interrogated by the police,” Punjab government tweeted.
PML-N leader Tallal Chaudhry confirmed that Iqbal, according to initial information, was out of danger.
He has also sought a report from inspector general (IG) Punjab and directed the authorities to take action against the culprit.
DPO Kishwar told DawnNewsTV that corner meetings become more frequent and widely attended as elections draw closer, as they provide an opportunity for politicians to interact with their supporters and citizens.
Condemnations pour in
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.
“Hope he recovers soon and thoughts, prayers with his family,” Leader of the Opposition in Senate Sherry Rehman said.
“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.