Sunday , September 23 2018

Pakistan’s Interior min recovering after attack

Suspected assassination attempt possibly linked to blasphemy

In this handout photograph released by the Press Information Department (PID) Punjab on May 6, injured Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal (center), is evacuated from a helicopter on their arrival in Lahore. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was shot in the arm in a suspected assassination attempt ahead of nationwide elections due this year, but will survive, his aide and officials said. (AFP)

LAHORE, Pakistan, May 7, (Agencies): Pakistan’s interior minister was recovering in hospital on Monday (May 7) after being shot in a suspected assassination possibly linked to blasphemy, with the attack seen as a “bad omen” for nationwide elections. Ahsan Iqbal, 59, was shot in the right arm as he prepared to leave a public meeting in his constituency in Punjab province late Sunday.

A man identified by police only as “Abid” and said to be in his early 20s was wrestled to the ground by police and bystanders as he was preparing to fire a second shot. He has been taken in to custody. The local deputy commissioner Ali Anan Qamar told AFP that the shooter said he carried out the attack over a small amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear which was hastily reversed last year after it was linked to blasphemy.

The controversy ignited a threeweek 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 in a deal brokered by the military. At the time many Pakistanis warned that a dangerous precedent had been set in which fringe groups could bend the state to their will by citing blasphemy, a highly inflammatory charge in the conservative Muslim country.

Iqbal was rushed first to a local hospital and then airlifted to Lahore, where video footage released by his ruling Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) showed him being lowered from a helicopter on a stretcher, his eyes open as he responded to questions. Doctors later said he was in stable condition.

The attack was swiftly condemned by the international community, including the US 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.

Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, tweeted that he “strongly condemned” the attack, calling it “(a) bad omen for upcoming general elections that is supposed to be free, fair and transparent.” The vote will only be Pakistan’s second ever democratic transition, and with the PML-N in disarray since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted by the Supreme Court over graft allegations last summer, there has been growing speculation it could be delayed

Please follow and like us:

Check Also

Top Pakistan court bars former minister from holding office

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s top court has barred the former deputy interior minister from holding …

Translate »
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial