A first information report (FIR) was filed on Monday against a man suspected of throwing a shoe at PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif during an event at the Jamia Naeemia seminary in Lahore’s Garhi Shahu area a day earlier.
The attack on the former prime minister drew widespread condemnation from all mainstream political and religious parties.
As Sharif reached the dais to address participants at an event at the seminary on Sunday, a young man managed to reach in front of him from behind and threw a shoe at him, hitting his shoulder and ear. The shoe-attacker then chanted ‘Labbaik Ya Rasoolallah’. Security personnel overpowered him and gave him a sound thrashing before handing him over to police.
A couple of his accomplices also chanted the same slogan before the security men nabbed them. The shoe-attacker, wearing shalwar-kameez, red cap and sporting a beard, sneaked through the front rows of participants so swiftly that none of the security personnel could react before he had his job done.
A visibly-shocked Sharif stepped back after the attack, but quickly regained his composure and made a short speech.
“I am thankful to Jamia Naeemia for inviting me as this institution has a key role for the religion and the country. We all have to make efforts for a good Pakistan,” the former prime minister said.
Sharif left the venue immediately afterwards. Taking no chances, his security team did not allow anyone to come close to him.
One of the suspects in lockup was later caught on camera talking to someone on a mobile phone, although an accused is not allowed to use it in detention.
An identical reason for the attack was given by Faiz Rasool, who threw black ink on Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Saturday. Security agencies did not release him on Sunday, though the minister had pardoned him. Sources said police wanted to know if someone was behind him.
As police shifted the three suspects — shoe-attacker Talha Munawar and his two accomplices Sajid and Abdul Ghafoor — to the Garhi Shahu police station, a good number of PML-N workers gathered outside and demanded their custody to teach them a lesson.
On police’s refusal, a few PML-N diehards managed to enter the police station and asked the policemen to open the lockup so that they could bring them to ‘book’. However, the police managed to disperse them after a while and shifted the suspects to an unidentified place for interrogation.
Deputy Inspector General Operations Dr Haider Ashraf told Dawnearlier that police had arrested Talha Munawar and his two accomplices.
“The prime suspect belongs to Muzaffargarh. All three suspects are former students of Jamia Naeemia,” he said, adding that their link with any religious or political outfit had not been established so far.
“Police are interrogating the suspects and will register an FIR against them after meeting all legal requirements,” Dr Ashraf said.
In a late night development, Munawar, in his late 20s, was reportedly admitted to Services Hospital after being badly thrashed by security personnel following his arrest.
The prime suspect and his two accomplices were booked today under Section 16 (Dissemination of rumours) of the Punjab Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance and Section 355 (Assault or criminal force with intent to dishonour a person, otherwise than on grave provocation) of the Pakistan Penal Code, read with Section 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation).
Nawaz Sharif has joined the list of those leaders who have come under shoe attack during the last decade or so.
Former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf, former Sindh chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim, former US president George W. Bush, former Australian premier John Howard, former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton are some of the prominent names on the list.