Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was injured on Sunday in an assassination attempt when an unidentified person opened fire at him in Punjab province as he completed a political rally, police said.
Iqbal, a senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, was hit by a bullet on his right shoulder in the attack, as per the police.
The incident happened when the US-educated leader was leaving the political rally in his native Narowal district.
The minister was rushed to a nearby hospital but later he was shifted to Lahore for further medical treatment, as per reports.
According to an initial report issued by the police, Iqbal’s bone was fractured in the attack.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi condemned the attack and called for immediate action from the top police officials of the Punjab province.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif called the incident an "assassination attempt," as per a leading daily.
Iqbal’s son said that his father was out of danger.
The reason behind the attack is unknown.
"Just spoke to him and he is in high spirits. Those who indulged in this heinous act will be brought to justice. PML-N will not be browbeaten into submission. I am personally overseeing the investigation," said Sharif.
Punjab government spokesman Malik Ahmad Khan confirmed the attack and arrest of the attackers. He said the minister is stable but being shifted to Lahore.
"Police are investigating the attack and we will know how he (attacker) was able to reach so close to the minister," he said.
He said that the attacker was initially identified as Abid Hussian and his age was said to be between 20-22 years. He is said to be a resident of Narowal.
Rana Manan, a lawmaker of Punjab assembly, said that Iqbal was about to sit in his vehicle when the attacker fired at him.
The attack on the interior minister highlights the issue of security of high-profile politicians ahead of the elections scheduled to be held after June.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa also condemned the incident and sent his best wishes for Iqbal's early recovery.
Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto and other Pakistan People’s Party leaders also condemned the attack.
Iqbal was seen as a potential prime minister candidate when Nawaz Sharif was ousted by the Supreme Court in 2017.
(With inputs from agencies)