LAHORE: The Punjab government formed a four-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the assassination attempt on federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal in Narowal.
According to a notification issued by the Home Department, the JIT would be convened by Additional Inspector-General Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) Muhammad Rai Tahir. Other members of the team included SSP Gujranwala Khalid Bashir Cheema, SP CTD Gujranwala Faisal Gulzar Awan and an official each from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Inter Services Intelligence (ISI). District Police Officer Imran Kishwar had requested the government to form the panel.
Meanwhile, Ahsan Iqbal underwent two surgeries at the Lahore Services Hospital.
According to doctors, the bullet had been deflected by his arm joint and entered his abdomen.
Medical Superintendent of the hospital Dr Muhammad Ameer said that doctors had decided to remove the bullet inside the minister’s stomach later.
Iqbal’s condition was stated to be stable. But he will be under observation in the Intensive Care Unit over the next 48 hours as recommended by a medical board constituted for the minister’s treatment.
Ahsan’s son, Ahmad Iqbal, in a video message stated that his father was fine. He appealed to the public for prayers for his father’s recovery.
A large number of dignitaries, including DG Rangers Punjab Khawaja Ehsan Ahmad, Spokesperson Punjab government Malik Ahmad Khan, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry and others visited the hospital to inquire after the interior minister’s health.
Police widened the scope of investigations and probed the prime accused’s background and context of the shooting.
They arrested another accomplice, Azam. He had escorted Hussain on a bike just before the assassination attempt.
During investigation, Hussain told the police that he had bought weapon from someone from a village near his hometown for Rs15,000.
He said that he had collected the amount during a fund raising campaign for his party.
Police were searching for the man who sold the weapon to Hussain. They also took another man into custody whose house was used for brainstorming the attack plan.
Police also took into custody, Bilal, the man who had hurled a shoe at the minister two months ago.
The case was later referred to the JIT.
Police also registered a case against the accused in Shah Ghareeb Police station.
Both factions of Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah, led by Khadim Hussain Rizvi and Ashraf Asif Jalali, disowned any affiliation with the accused and Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah Pakistan condemned the attack, the Deputy Commissioner of Narowal wrote in the preliminary report sent to the Chief Secretary Punjab.
He maintained that accused Abid Hussain was affiliated with Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah.
The report stated that the accused “demonstrated his affiliation with Tehreek-e-Labbaik”. According to the report, Ahsan Iqbal had been shot from a distance of 15 yards.
On Monday, a day after the attack, protest rallies condemning the attack were staged by various sections of society.
At the Central Police Office in Lahore, Inspector-General of Police Arif Nawaz Khan conducted a meeting of senior police officers to bolster security of important personalities. He urged the officers to compile a list and forward it to CPO.
The main accused, Abid Hussain, is reported to have told police that he had been inspired by Ghazi Ilm Din Shaheed and others.
He said that Data Ali Hajveri (RA) and other religious figures had ordered him in his dreams to kill Ahsan.
According to him, he had joined the Tehreek because of Khadim Hussain Rizvi and Ashraf Asif Jalali’s speeches.