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Pakistan's interior minister shot and wounded after public meeting

Pakistan's interior minister shot and wounded after public meeting

According to the medical superintendent, doctors had decided not to remove the bullet from Iqbal's body as the procedure could create some complications.

Police are still investigating the attack, but local deputy commissioner Ali Anan Qamar told AFP that the shooter said he was inspired by a controversy past year in which a small amendment to the oath that election candidates must swear had to be hastily reversed after it was linked to blasphemy.

"The suspect belongs to a religious family and a worker of the TLYP", he said. "We are interrogating him to find out whether he acted alone or at the behest of someone", he said.

Talal Chaudhry, the minister of state for interior affairs, said Iqbal was hit by a bullet in his arm when a gunman fired a pistol at him from about 20 meters away.

Following the Faizabad dharna, the PML-N government has repeatedly been branded as a party of apostates and blasphemers by fringe religious groups.

A senior police officer told PTI that the suspect told investigators that he opened fire on the minister to take revenge on the ruling PML-N for trying to delete the clause related to the Khatm-e-Nabuwat (the finality of Prophet Muhammad) from the Constitution.

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Meanwhile, Senators Mushtaq Ahmed and Anwaar-ul-Haq condemned the assassination attempt on the interior minister and said that such elements would not be allowed to disturb the law and order situation in the country.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also condemned the attack.

Late previous year, some changes were made to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat declaration required of prospective lawmakers under new laws drafted by the ruling PML-N in consultation with opposition parties.

Inspector General of Police Punjab retired Capt Arif Nawaz said the police have also been probing the involvement of any facilitators in the incident. However the man who hurled the shoe was arrested and later freed after Iqbal pardoned him. Considered the brains behind the party's development agenda, he previously headed up the planning ministry.

In 2011 then-Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, a liberal who had called for reformation of the laws, was gunned down by his own bodyguard in broad daylight in Islamabad.