Pakistani Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has been shot dead before nationwide elections this year, but will survive, officials said Sunday.
The suspect the police were talking about was called "Abid" and it is believed he was in his early 20s when Iqbal fired close-up with a 30-hole gun and hit him in his right arm as he prepared for it Raja Riffat Mukhtar, senior police officer said Raja Riffat Mukhtar, chief police officer, was about to fire a second shot when police and people in the congregation overcame him, "said Malik Ahmed Khan, spokesman for the Punjab police. Government, adding that Iqbal underwent surgery and confirmed that his life was not in danger.
Iqbal "was targeted," his assistant Asim Khan told AFP, confirming that the attacker had been arrested, Punjab Health Minister Najam Shah said he had been taken to a hospital in Lahore [19659-04] video footage of his arrival by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) showed him from a helicopter on a stretcher. The eyes opened as he answered questions.
"He's stable … he's alright," a hospital official who should not be named, told AFP.
The shooting in Iqbal's Narowal constituency resulted in a swift international condemnation and, as Pakistan prepares for its second democratic transition, comes with federal elections generally expected this summer.
There follows a series of blows to the PML-N, which must fight since its eponymous leader Nawaz Sharif was dismissed last summer by the Supreme Court on allegations of bribery.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, along with opposition leaders Imran Khan and Bilawal Bhutto and powerful army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, have condemned the attack.
PML-N legislator Maiza Hameed told Pakistan's Geo News that the shooting was an attempt to "weaken" democracy before the upcoming elections.
"Condemn the assassination of my friend Ahsan Iqbal … He & he is in high spirits," tweeted Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, brother of Nawaz.
"Those who committed this heinous act are brought to justice," he continued. "PMLN is not forced to subservience … prayers for speedy recovery !!"
– Upcoming Elections –
The attack also caused a widespread shock in Pakistani social media. "Unfortunate development, as the country moves into the election season," tweeted the analyst and editor of the daily Raza Ahmad Rumi.
It was quickly condemned by the international community with the French Embassy, US Ambassador David Hale, British High, Commissioner Thomas Drew and UN coordinator Neil Buhne among the Twitternes their support for his recovery.
Iqbal, who was hailed as a potential prime minister when Sharif was overthrown last July, is a US-educated lawmaker from a political family that has long been associated with him. The PML-N.
He was the head of the party's development agenda and previously headed the Planning Ministry.
The upcoming parliamentary elections this year have not been proclaimed, but are generally expected late in the summer.
The survey will launch the PML-N against the Pakistani Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI) led by former cricket star Imran Khan.
The ruling party, however, has suffered a series of strikes with Nawaz Shari Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif was dismissed late last month by the Islamabad Supreme Court for violating electoral law.
Sharif and his supporters have repeatedly denied allegations of corruption, suggesting that they are the victims of a conspiracy by Pakistan's powerful military to reduce their party's power.
Despite the setbacks facing the PML-N, the party has won a number of by-elections proving that it is likely to remain a force in the election. Kh -wh-ks-st / klm