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Ahsan Iqbal shot and injured in Narowal: Assassination attempt right at the verge of 2018 Elections

Ahsan Iqbal
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News Analysis |

Senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Ahsan Iqbal was attacked during a corner meeting in Narowal town on Sunday evening. Ahsan Iqbal, a US-educated politician and the current Interior Minister of Pakistan, was at the residence of MPA Rana Manan to address a gathering. He was attacked when he was leaving the meeting.

According to Jam Sajjad Hussain, a rescue services spokesperson, Iqbal was getting into his vehicle to leave the rally when a “young man” fired at him “several times”, reported Al Jazeera. “One bullet hit him in the shoulder. He was transferred to the local district hospital, where he is being treated,” Sajjad further said.

Initially, the minister was taken to District Headquarters Hospital Narowal but later on Ahsan Iqbal was airlifted from Narowal and brought to Services Hospital in Lahore where he is undergoing treatment.

People like Ahsan Iqbal who wish and advocate for a progressive Pakistan are being specifically targeted by the people radicalized by his own party fellows like Captain (R) Safdar.

Condemnations:

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi condemned the attack on Iqbal and “had called for an immediate report into the incident from IG Police Punjab.”Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa has also condemned the attack and expressed his good wishes for the minster’s early recovery. “COAS condemns firing on Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal. Expresses best wishes for early recovery,” twitted ISPR DG Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor.

Read more: Ahsan Iqbal’s outburst against Chief Justice: Just another agonized PML-N member

American Ambassador to Pakistan has also condemned the attack in a statement. . “The United States condemns the attack on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal today. We wish him a speedy recovery,” Ambassador David Hale said in a statement.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan also condemned the attack.

Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto, and other PPP leaders also condemned the attack on Ahsan Iqbal. “We have to put a stop to such incidents,” said the PPP co-chairman.

Khawaja Asif’s tweet:

Khawaja Asif, former Minister for Foreign Affairs who has recently disqualified by a court for violating election laws, has also tweeted to condemn the attack on the senior leader of his party.

Ahsan Iqbal, a US-educated politician and the current Interior Minister of Pakistan, was at the residence of MPA Rana Manan to address a gathering.

“Religious, ethnic, and political divide and oppositions are used for personal and sectarian interest. May Allah bless Ahsan Iqbal with life! No one will remain spared from this hatred. This menace of hatred will destroy everything. For God’s sake, together we have to work for our country,” Asif said in an Urdu tweet.

Read more: Ahsan Iqbal accuses NAB of pre-poll rigging?

Khawaja Asif was referring to recent waves of attack on PML-N leaders when he also became a victim. Khawaja Asif had ink thrown at him during a PML-N workers’ convention in Sialkot. An Islamic seminary student hurled a shoe at former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Jamia Naeemia. The attackers blamed the party for making “unnecessary” and “un-Islamic” changes to the KhatmeNabuwat clause (finality of Prophethood).

Since after the Faizabad Dharna by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) PML-N has been criticized for a miserable state surrender.  Khadim Rizvi, Chairman of TLYRA, compelled the government to fulfil his demands and it might lead to more extremization of Pakistani society, pointed out analysts.

Ironically, the situation deteriorated when the son-in-law of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made anti-Ahmedi community remarks and expressed his soft-heartedness publically for the protesters in Faizabad and Lahore sit-ins. Captain (R) Safdar has also presented a resolution before the National Assembly to re-name Dr. Abdul Salam Physics Centre at Quaid-e-Azam University after the Muslim scientist Abu al Fatah Abdul Rehman Al-Khazini. This has conveyed a myopic view of the PML-N it holds for the religious minorities in Pakistan.

An Islamic seminary student hurled a shoe at former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Jamia Naeemia.

PML-N is trying to manage its image as emerging liberal political force in the country without losing the support of religious leaders. This is compelling party leaders to take different and sometimes conflicting positions on the same issues. People like Ahsan Iqbal who wish and advocate for a progressive Pakistan are being specifically targeted by the people radicalized by his own party fellows like Captain (R) Safdar.

Read more: Musharraf Vs Sharif Clan: Double Standards of Ahsan Iqbal & Interior…

Moreover, the initial report of the attack on Ahsan Iqbal by Deputy Commissioner Narowal has also pointed out that the attacker belonged to by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, a religio-political party based upon extremist religious ideals.


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