Pakistani Interior Minister Injured in Political Rally Shooting

Pakistan's interior minister survives assassination attempt during political rally, shifted to Lahore for treatment

"I saw Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh Ali Hajvari (an 11th century Sufi saint) in a dream who ordered me to kill Ahsan Iqbal".

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Arif Nawaz had earlier told Dawn that the 22-year-old suspect, who was arrested from the spot, had confessed to attempting to assassinate the minister over the issue of Khatm-i-Nabuwwat (finality of prophethood).

"The doctors have decided not to remove the bullet from Iqbal's body as the procedure could create some complications", said the medic.

"Police are investigating the matter further", the DC's letter to the Punjab chief secretary read.

The suspect is a resident of Narowal district and belongs to a local religious group, Lateef said; a revolver used in the attack on the minister was also recovered from him.

Iqbal, a close aide of ousted Premier Nawaz Sharif, is considered to be the man behind the ruling party's economic agenda; he led the Planning and Development Ministry and the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects. "We know the motive of this attack but this is a very risky game being played against the PML-N", Information Minister Marrium Aurengzeb said.

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Meanwhile, Senators Mushtaq Ahmed and Anwaar-ul-Haq condemned the assassination attempt on the interior minister and said that such elements would not be allowed to disturb the law and order situation in the country.

The Punjab government reconstituted a joint investigation team (JIT) an hour after it was formed to probe the attack on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal.

Senators Rehman Malik and Muhammad Javed Abbasi vehemently condemned the attack and called for national unity against terrorism.

Hospital administration is also considering to shift Iqbal to Sharif City Medical Complex.

A couple of months ago Iqbal had also faced a shoe-attack in his hometown. The suspect then claimed that he committed the act because he was upset with the PML-N government over the change to the offending clause in the Constitution.

Their attackers were also members of the TLYP who alleged that the PML-N leadership had committed blasphemy by changing the constitutional clause which had provoked the attacks.

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