Pakistan's Interior Minister Wounded In Gun Attack

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A gunman on Sunday shot and injured Pakistani Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal while he was visiting his constituency in the north-eastern city of Narowal.

According to reports, a suspect who was arrested for the assassination attempt on the minister has a declared affiliation with the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR). It did not speculate on his motive.

Pakistan's interior minister was recovering in the hospital Monday after being shot in a suspected assassination attempt possibly linked to blasphemy, with the attack seen as an ominous sign for security ahead of nationwide elections.

The 59-year-old Iqbal is a US -educated politician long associated with the party Sharif previously led, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

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The party calls for the aggressive enforcement of Pakistan's blasphemy laws, which can carry the death penalty. The attacker was arrested immediately after the shooting, officials said. "We are interrogating him to find out whether he acted alone or at the behest of someone", he said. Authorities said he was out of danger.

Iqbal underwent two consecutive surgeries right after the attack and has since been shifted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Services Hospital in Lahore. The notice also calls for a list of government officials who are being given security by the Punjab police so that better measures can be taken in future.

Considered the brains behind the PML-N's development agenda, Iqbal previously headed Pakistan's Planning Ministry.

Many of its supporters say PML-N, despite repeated denials, wants to ease the blasphemy laws.

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The statement did not specifically mention any suspect in custody or any links to the party.

The attack was swiftly condemned by the worldwide community as Pakistanis voiced fears it represented an attempt to weaken democracy ahead of the federal elections, widely expected to be held late this summer.

A senior government source told Reuters news agency that early information suggested Iqbal had been returning from a meeting with a Christian group.

The interior minister expressed concerns last month that there was a conspiracy to impede the ruling PML-N party in the upcoming election.

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