LAHORE: The would-be assassin of Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal is affiliated with Tehreek-e-Labbaik, confirmed a government official from Narowal on Monday.
The preliminary report sent to the chief secretary of the provincial government by deputy commissioner Narowal, says the man "showed his affiliation to Tehreek-e-Labbaik".
The attacker, Abid Hussain, shot at the interior minister from a distance of 15 yards as he was leaving a corner meeting.
Iqbal was moved to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Lahore's Services Hospital following two surgeries early Monday morning. Medical Superintendent Services Hospital Dr Ameer claimed the bullet had not been removed from the body, however, Dr Professor Mehmood Ayaz, who conducted one of the surgeries, had earlier said the bullet was removed from the interior minister’s body.
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Speaking to AFP, Shafqat Waseem Chaudhry, one of the five-member medical team responsible for him, said that Iqbal was stable for now. "But he will remain in the ICU for two days."
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader was flown to Lahore amid heavy security after receiving initial treatment at District Headquarters Hospital (DHQ) in Narowal. He was received by Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and others upon his arrival in the provincial capital.
In a video message on Facebook, Iqbal’s son said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader was in a stable condition.
FIR lodged against Ahsan Iqbal’s assailant
An attempted murder case was also registered against the suspect who shot and injured Iqbal, Express News reported.
A First Information Report (FIR) was lodged at the Ghareeb Shah police station and stated that the interior was leaving a corner meeting when he was fired upon with a 30-bore pistol by the assailant, Abid Hussain. The bullet grazed Iqbal's arm and lodged itself in his abdomen.
A second suspect, Azeem, was also arrested by the police. Azeem, reportedly, accompanied the prime accused to the venue.
JIT Formed to probe assassination bid on Ahsan Iqbal
The Punjab Home Department on Monday formed a four-member joint investigation team to probe the attack on Iqbal.
The 23-year-old suspect was arrested shortly after the incident by police. A heavy contingent of police helped collect forensic evidence from the crime scene and recorded eyewitness statements.
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A senior police officer told The Express Tribune that the accused had confessed to targeting the PML-N leader as an act of reprisal for his alleged role in amending the Khatm-e-Nubuwwat clause in the election bill.
Protests condemn the attack
Trade organisations, lawyers, political workers and civil society staged protests against the attack. Later in the day, PML-N workers will be taking out a rally in Narowal.
The demonstrators are urging the public to decide with the ballot and not the bullet.
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