Ahsan was ‘easy target’, assailant says

In this handout photograph released by the Press Information Department (PID) Punjab on May 6, 2018, injured Pakistan's Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal (C) 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 PHOTO / PID / Handout
  • Received ‘orders’ to assassinate interior minister in a dream, suspect tells police
  • Politicians visit minister after doctors transfer him to ICU

LAHORE: The prime suspect, Abid Hussain, involved in the assassination attempt at the interior minister,  has told the police that Ahsan Iqbal was an easy target and belonged to his area.

Abid, who is said to have shot at the interior minister from a distance of 15 yards as the latter entered his vehicle to leave the rally ground in tehsil Kanjrur, was arrested Sunday night. He admitted that he had bought the gun for Rs15,000 from a person in his area. The police have also arrested an accomplice, Azeem, and have registered the FIR of the incident at Shah Ghareeb Police Station.

The suspect, during his interrogation, told police that he received ‘orders’ to kill the interior minister in a dream and wrote down his thoughts in a diary over the past three or four months.

According to reports, Azeem and Abid had reached the incident site on a motorcycle. However, Azeem had managed to escape after the incident and was arrested Monday morning.

A 30-bore pistol was recovered from the arrested Abid, DPO Kishwar said.

Abid’s sister informed the media later that she has no idea why he would do such a thing, adding that Abid had left the home without informing anyone of his plans.

Moreover, SHO and DSP of the Shah Gharib Police Station have been suspended for providing inadequate security arrangements to the interior minister.

The primary suspect was presented before an anti-terrorism court on Monday and was handed over to the police on a 10-day physical remand.


According to reports, a suspect who was arrested for the assassination attempt on the minister has a declared affiliation with Sunni extremist outfit Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLP).

In a preliminary report sent to the Punjab chief secretary hours after the attack, the Narowal deputy commissioner reported that the suspect had identified himself as Abid Hussain, son of Mohammad Hussain, a resident of Verum village, Tehsil Shakargarh of Narowal district.

“He further showed his affiliation with Tehrik-e-Labbaik [sic],” the DC’s letter read.

The Narowal DC further stated in the report that the suspect was arrested along with the weapon that he used to attack the minister. Further, the motorcycle belonging to the accused was also taken into custody by the police. “Police is further investigating the matter,” the report concluded.


Ahsan Iqbal, who was shot in the arm Sunday evening during a rally in his constituency Narowal, is currently under treatment in Lahore.

Punjab Government Spokesperson Malik Ahmed said the attack is equivalent to an assault on the peace of the entire country. He added that in case of security negligence, the guilty person will not be spared.

Federal Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Services Hospital in Lahore after a successful completion of the surgery that took place on Monday morning.

On Sunday, the interior minister was rushed to the District Headquarters Hos­pital after the assassination attempt. After being administered first aid there, he was airlifted to the Services Hospital where he underwent two consecutive surgeries.

The medical superintendent of the Services Hospital, Dr Ameer, said Ahsan was in stable condition and the minister will be kept under observation for 24 hours. Iqbal will be kept under treatment at the hospital till his recovery, the doctor added.

According to the medical superintendent, doctors had decided not to remove the bullet from Ahsan’s body as the procedure could create some complications. The bullet had fractured an elbow joint of the minister before burrowing into his abdomen, the doctor said.

The hospital has formed a five-member medical board to supervise the minister’s treatment.

Professor Doctor Mahmood Ayaz will head the board, which includes the heads of orthopaedic units one and two, medicine and surgical unit.

Separately, many politicians, including a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) delegation comprising Fawad Chaudhry, Abrarul Haq and member provincial assembly Murad Rass, visited the hospital to inquire after Ahsan’s health.


Meanwhile, the Punjab government constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe the attack on the interior minister.

According to a notification by the provincial police department, Additional IG CTD Rai Tahir will head the five-member JIT.

The JIT will include SSP Gujranwala Khalid Bashir Cheema, CTD Gujranwala SP Faisal Gulzar Awan and one official each of the Intelligence Bureau and Inter-Services Intelligence.

The Narowal district police officer had requested for the formation of a JIT in the case.

The Punjab Police also appointed an investigating officer in the case, Mohammad Tariq, on Monday.

Tariq, SHO of the Saddar Police Station in Narowal, said the suspect will be produced before the Gujranwala anti-terrorism court to seek his remand.

An FIR, including terrorism charges, has already been registered at the Shah Gharib Police Station.


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