Sunday May 06 2018

Condemnations pour in after assassination attack on Ahsan Iqbal

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was attacked during a corner meeting in Narowal on Sunday, May 6, 2018. Photo: File

KARACHI: Condemnations from local political figures and government officials as well as from around the globe poured in through Sunday night after Minister of Interior Ahsan Iqbal was injured during an assassination attempt at a corner meeting here in his constituency, Narowal.

Abid Hussain, the assailant, had shot at the minister from a distance of almost 15 yards as the latter entered his vehicle to leave the rally ground in tehsil Kanjrur.

President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi condemned the attack. Abbasi also issued directives to Arif Nawaz Khan, the inspector-general of police (IGP) for Punjab, to submit a report on the incident.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa condemned the attack and wished an early recovery to the minister, Major General Asif Ghafoor, the director-general and spokesperson of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Twitter.

While speaking to media outside the hospital in Lahore, Khawaja Saad Rafique, the minister for railways, said the fact that the country's interior minister was targeted is an alarming situation.

He said the differences in opinion should be resolved through dialogues, not abuses or bullets, and added that the shooter will be subjected to questioning.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan also strongly condemned the attack on the interior minister. 

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari also condemned the incident and expressed the need to stop such incidents.

Sherry Rehman, the leader of the opposition in the Senate, expressed regret at the incident.

"PTI strongly condemns [the] attack on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal," Fawad Chaudhry tweeted.

Senator Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar of the PTI also condemned the attack.

Khursheed Shah, the opposition leader in the National Assembly, also condemned the incident.

“The attack on Iqbal is a question mark over the country’s security,” he said. “A comprehensive security strategy is required before the elections.”

On the other hand, Jamiat Ulema-e Islam (JI) chief Siraj-ul-Haq stressed on the efforts to curb extremism.

Farooq Sattar, the head of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan's (MQM-P) PIB faction, demanded the motives behind the attack on Iqbal be revealed.

The attack on Iqbal is worrisome, he added.

Awami Muslim League (AML) leader Sheikh Rasheed also expressed concern at the attack and condemned it.

Well wishes from around the world

The United States condemned the incident, American diplomat David Hale said, adding that his country sent well wishes and prayers for Iqbal's recovery.

“The United States condemns the attack on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal today. We wish him a speedy recovery. Ambassador David Hale,” the US Embassy in Islamabad said on Twitter.

Lisa Curtis, the senior director for the south and central Asia affairs at the US National Security Council (NSC), said she was "praying for speedy and full recovery" for Iqbal.

"Your nation needs you for free, fair elections. Stay strong, committed to democratic future," the former CIA official tweeted.

"Shocked to learn of the attack on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal today. My very best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. @betterpakistan," Thomas Drew, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, wrote.

"Appalling attack on Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, wishing him a speedy recovery @betterpakistan," Mark Field, a member of the United Kingdom's parliament, tweeted.