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Main accused in Ahsan Iqbal assassination case handed 30 years in jail

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Lahore, Oct 27: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Gujranwala on Saturday handed Abid Hussain, the main accused in the Ahsan Iqbal assassination case, 30 years and two months in prison while acquitting four others accused of facilitating him, DawnNewsTV reported.

Judge Syed Ali Imran also handed fines to the tune of Rs280,000 and ordered the convict's assets to be confiscated.

Former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal had been shot at and injured during a corner meeting in Narowal's Kanjrur tehsil on May 6, 2018, in what had been described as an assassination attempt.

District Police Officer (DPO) Imran Kishwar had told DawnNewsTV at the time that Iqbal was shot by the assailant ─ who was also present at the corner meeting ─ with a 30-bore pistol from a distance of 20 yards.

Iqbal had sustained a bullet wound in his right shoulder, the DPO had added.

Thankfully, the people standing around the assailant overpowered him before he could fire a second shot at his target. The policemen present at the site then arrested the suspect, seized his weapon and shifted him to a police station.

The interior minister was initially shifted to District Headquarters Hospital Narowal following the attack, but was later airlifted in a helicopter to Lahore where he received further medical treatment.

The suspected shooter had been immediately taken into custody. At the time, he was identified as a local 20 to 22-year-old youth residing in the jurisdiction of the Shah Gharib police station in Kanjrur tehsil.

It later emerged that the suspect had had a declared affiliation with the Tehreek-i-Labbaik.

In a preliminary report sent to the Punjab chief secretary hours after the attack, the Narowal deputy commissioner had reported that the suspect had identified himself as Abid Hussain, son of Mohammad Hussain, a resident of Verum village, Tehsil Shakargarh of Narowal district.

The then Punjab inspector general of police, Arif Nawaz, had told Dawn that the 22-year-old suspect, who was arrested from the spot, had confessed to attempting to assassinate the minister over the issue of Khatm-i-Nabuwwat (finality of prophethood).

Meanwhile, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) had issued a statement condemning the attack on the minister and attempted to paint it as some sort of pre-election conspiracy.

TLP chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and Pir Afzal Qadri, in a joint statement, had demanded that the government initiate a judicial inquiry into the attack.

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