Pakistan’s Interior Minister Survives Suspected Assassination Attempt


Pakistani Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal talks to journalists outside the accountability court, in Islamabad, Pakistan, in October.

Anjum Naveed/AP

Updated at 4:40 a.m. ET

Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ashan Iqbal was shot and wounded on Sunday by a gunman reportedly linked to a hard-line Muslim group. It was the most serious act of violence since campaigning began for upcoming elections, expected this summer.

Iqbal, 59, was hit in the shoulder as he was leaving a political gathering in his hometown of Narowal, in Pakistan’s state of Punjab. The bullet reached his abdomen, according to local newspaper The Daily Times.

Iqbal was air-lifted to the nearby city of Lahore, where he was rushed into an intensive care unit. According to the newspaper, Iqbal underwent two operations — one to treat his broken elbow, and the the other to see if the bullet could be removed. Iqbal’s son told the Times that he was being kept under observation but that he is out of danger.

According to Dawn newspaper, the assailant was overpowered before he could fire a second shot. He was quickly arrested.

Local media identified the suspect as Abid Hussein and gave his age as 21 or 22.

Officials would not say what his motive was. However, Reuters reports that it had seen the report issued by the deputy commissioner of the Narowal District. According to the news agency, that report said the gunman is affiliated with Tehreek-e-Labaik, a religious movement that calls for the aggressive enforcement of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which can carry the death penalty.


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