>> A top Pakistani official was shot this weekend, in an apparent assassination attempt. Interior Administer, Ahsan Iqbal, took a bullet to his right arm on Sunday. Soon after addressing voters in the country's Punjab province. Police say the gunman was arrested, and is linked to a new ultra-religious Muslim party.
Iqbal was rushed to a nearby hospital, then taken by helicopter to the provincial Capital, Lahore. Government officials say, he's now in stable condition, but the shooting has left Pakistan on edge, ahead of election set for July. Iqbal is a senior member of the ruling party, and is an ally of ousted Premier, Nawaz Sharif.
A senior official said, early information suggested Iqbal had been meeting with a Christian group. However, the official said, it was unclear if that had anything to do with the motive. An official report of the shooting says, the gunman showed his affiliation to the Tariq al Ibq Party. Which calls for aggressive enforcement of Pakistan's blasphemy laws against Islam that can carry the death penalty.
Blasphemy is a politically charged issue in the country, even more so, since Lebec's emergence in the past year. It's been gaining strength with an election platform, revolving around the issue. However, in a statement on Sunday night, Lebec's leader condemned the attack on Nicbal. And said the Party had not authorized any of its supporters to take up arms.