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Gunman injures Pakistan interior minister Ahsan Iqbal in Punjab

Media captionAhsan Iqbal was taken to hospital after being shot at least once

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

Mr Iqbal had just attended a rally in the Punjab city when he was hit at least once in the arm. He was taken to hospital and his life is not in danger.

The attacker was arrested and is being questioned, officials said. The motive for the shooting is not yet clear.

Pakistan is due to hold a general election on 15 July.

Mr Iqbal is a senior member of the governing Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).

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Reuters

Image caption

Ahsan Iqbal (seen here last year) has reassured supporters from his hospital bed

How did the shooting happen?

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

“We are not sure whether it has got anything to do with the motive,” the source said. “We will know only after investigation of the attacker.”

Mr Iqbal was shot in the right arm, Punjab government spokesman Malik Ahmed Khan told AFP news agency.

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AFP

Image caption

Ahsan Iqbal was airlifted to a hospital in Lahore

“The attacker was about to fire a second shot when police and people in the meeting overpowered him,” he said.

Pakistani media named the suspected gunman as 21-year-old Abid Hussain.

Mr Iqbal was rushed to a local hospital for surgery and then transferred by helicopter to the Services Institute hospital in Lahore.

He later took to Twitter to reassure supporters and to ask for prayers.

What has the reaction been?

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi “strongly condemned” the attack and called for an immediate report into the incident by Punjab’s chief of police.

Opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah said the incident “raised a major question mark on the security situation in the country” and said tighter security was needed for the upcoming elections.

The US ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, said the US condemned the attack and wished Mr Iqbal a speedy recovery.

Gunman injures Pakistan interior minister Ahsan Iqbal in Punjab

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