Man who attacked Ahsan Iqbal linked to Tehreek Labbaik: report

Man who attacked Ahsan Iqbal linked to Tehreek Labbaik: report

LAHORE: The man who attacked Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has shown his affiliation to Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, said an initial investigation report. He is in custody and will soon be produced before an anti-terrorism court.
A man opened fire Sunday on the Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal as he was leaving a corner meeting in his constituency, Narowal, which lies near the border with India.
According to an initial police report by the Narowal deputy commissioner, the gunman, identified as Abid Hussain, has been arrested and showed his affiliation to Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah.
Tehreek Labbaik is a religious group run by Khadim Hussain Rizvi, calling for the aggressive enforcement of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which can carry the death penalty. Rizvi has denied involvement of his group and condemned the incident.
According to the report, the culprit took advantage of the crowd and opened fire on Iqbal from a distance of 15 feet. He used a pistol of 30 bore calibre. The Elite Force arrested the shooter, said the report. The suspect belongs to Shakar Garh and had come to attend the corner meeting on his motorcycle. His motorcycle has also been impounded while further investigations are underway.
An FIR No 73/18 has been registered in the name of ASI Muhammad Ishaq at the Ghareeb Shah police station. It contains sections pertaining to murder, intention to murder, possession of unlicensed weapon and terrorism. The suspect will be produced before an anti-terrorism court shortly. According to the FIR, the 21-year-old suspect shot at Iqbal with the motive to kill him.
Doctors said Iqbal, 59, is out of danger but is still at the ICU under observation for the next 24 hours at the Services Hospital, Lahore.
Two bullets hit Iqbal in the arm and one of them pierced through his elbow into his stomach. While doctors have operated upon his broken elbow to repair it, the bullet has not been removed after consultation with experts.
A senior government official said early information suggested Iqbal had been returning from a meeting with a Christian group. “We are not sure whether it has got anything to do with the motive. We will know only after investigation of the attacker.”
Blasphemy is a deeply emotional and politically charged issue in Pakistan, even more so since Labaik has emerged in the past year.
The party was born out of a protest movement supporting Mumtaz Qadri, a bodyguard of the governor of Punjab who gunned down his boss in 2011 over his call to relax Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws.


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