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ICC Note: Pakistan’s Interior Minister was attacked in an attempted assassination for his opposition to the country’s notorious blasphemy laws. The attack took place on May 6 in the Narowal District of Punjab, Pakistan. Islamic extremists in Pakistan have historically resorted to violence against any government official that shows opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.  

05/08/2018 Pakistan (Eurasia Review) – Pakistani government minister Ahsan Iqbal was wounded in a gun attack over the blasphemy laws during a visit to his constituency.

The attack on the minister for interior and narcotics control took place on May 6 in Narowal district of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province.

According to police, the shooter identified himself as Abid Hussain and showed his affiliation with Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan, a religious party strictly opposed to any reforms to Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws.

The minister had met a group of Christians in his constituency before being shot.

“Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal finished his corner meeting at village Kanjroor at about 6pm when a man took advantage of the rushed gathering around the minister and fired a bullet with a 30mm pistol which passed his right arm and went straight into the groin area,” a preliminary police report said.

“The elite police incapacitated the person immediately, barring him from further firing and arrested him along with the weapon.”

Iqbal was rushed to District Headquarters Hospital in Narowal for treatment before being airlifted to Services Hospital, where he underwent surgery during the night.

The suspect reportedly told interrogators that it was his personal act over the government’s now withdrawn amendment to an election declaration about the finality of the Prophet Muhammad, an act deemed blasphemy by the religious party and its supporters. According to the Muslim faith, Muhammad is the last prophet of God.

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