Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was shot at and injured during a corner meeting in Narowal's Kanjrur tehsil on Sunday, in what Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif described as an "assassination attempt".

The interior minister's condition is said to be out of danger. Ahsan Iqbal has been airlifted from Narowal and brought to Services Hospital in Lahore where he is undergoing treatment.

The CM Punjab, condemning the attack, said: "Just spoke to him and he is in high spirits." He visited the hospital where the interior minister is being treated for his wounds.

District Police Officer (DPO) Imran Kishwar told DawnNewsTV that Iqbal was shot by the assailant ─ who was also present at the corner meeting ─ with a 30-bore pistol from a distance of 20 yards.

He sustained a bullet wound in his right shoulder, the DPO added.

The interior minister was initially shifted to District Headquarters Hospital Narowal following the attack, but was later airlifted in a helicopter to Lahore where he received further medical treatment.

Ahsan Iqbal is evacuated from a helicopter after reaching Lahore. —PID
Ahsan Iqbal is evacuated from a helicopter after reaching Lahore. —PID

PML-N leader Tallal Chaudhry confirmed that Iqbal's condition was stable and he was out of danger.

The suspected shooter was taken into custody. He was identified as a local 20 to 22-year-old youth residing in the jurisdiction of the Shah Gharib police station in Kanjrur tehsil.

The Punjab government, confirming the arrest, said the suspect "is being interrogated by the police".

Shahbaz Sharif tweeted: "Those who indulged in this heinous act will be brought to justice. PML-N will not be browbeaten into submission."

"I am personally overseeing the investigation," he added.

The CM Punjab also sought a report from the inspector general (IG) Punjab and directed the authorities to take action against the culprit.

Condemnations pour in

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.

"Hope he recovers soon and thoughts, prayers with his family," Leader of the Opposition in Senate Sherry Rehman said.

"PTI strongly condemns the attack on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal," Fawad Chaudhry tweeted. PTI chief also sent a short tweet condemning the incident.

"Political differences notwithstanding, physical targeting of any politician is simply not acceptable. Sadly, intolerance and violence are becoming endemic in our society," PTI's Shireen Mazari said in her tweet.

Also condemning the incident, Jamaat-i-Islami chief Sirajul Haq demanded that the hidden elements behind the incident be uncovered.

Jamaat-i- Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq strongly condemned the assassination attempt on Ahsan Iqbal and termed it a “cowardly act”. "Unseen forces behind the attack must be unveiled," he added.

Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa also condemned the incident and sent his best wishes for Iqbal's early recovery.

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