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Pakistan's civil-military leadership condemns attack on Ahsan Iqbal

Pakistan's civil-military leadership condemns attack on Ahsan Iqbal

Interior Minister and top PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal was wounded in an apparent assassination attack yesterday, ahead of nationwide elections due in July, bringing more volatility to an already charged atmosphere.

Chaudhry said that at least one man had been arrested at the scene of the attack, adding that investigations were ongoing.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif - who also heads the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz - suspected a greater sinister behind the gory incident that follows a series of blows to the ruling party.

The gunmen told police that he attempted to assassinate the minister because he was among the ruling party's members who changed a religious law a year ago.

Shehbaz Sharif has reportedly sent his official helicopter to Narowal to airlift Iqbal to Lahore.

According to the second notification issued by the Punjab Home Department, a copy of which is available with Geo News, the new JIT will be convened by Additional Inspector General Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Muhammad Tahir.

She prayed for speedy recovery of Ahsan Iqbal and said "We hope to see him back in parliament soon".

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif described the attack as an assassination attempt.

A senior police officer told The Express Tribune that the accused had targeted PML-N leader as an act of reprisal for his alleged role in amending Namoos-e-Risalat clause in the election bill.

Pakistan's Interior Minister was recovering in hospital on Monday after surviving a shooting possibly linked to blasphemy accusations.

He said the bullet had also penetrated the right elbow joint of the minister.

The party calls for the aggressive enforcement of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which can carry the death penalty.

Statements of condemnation have been pouring out from all the politicians of the country, rival and ally alike.

The controversy ignited a three-week sit-in last November by a previously little-known Islamist group which paralysed the capital and ended when the government capitulated to the protesters' demands - including the ousting of the federal law minister - in a deal brokered by the military.

Moreover, police also claimed to have arrested two aides of the suspect who were involved in facilitating the attacker.

The attack was swiftly condemned by the global community, including the United States ambassador and the French embassy, as Pakistanis voiced fears it represented an attempt to "weaken democracy" ahead of the federal elections, widely expected to be held late this summer.

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