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Pakistan gunman shot after five hour standoff

Man demanded introduction of sharia law

Pakistan gunman shot after five hour standoff

Muhammad Sikandar makes his demands in Islamabad reporter, Islamabad

August 16, 2013

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Pakistani police shot and seriously wounded a gunman following a five hour standoff which brought the center of the capital Islamabad to a standstill, officials said on Thursday.  

Four other people - the gunman’s wife, a former politician and two policemen - were also shot and injured.  

The gunman, later identified as Muhammad Sikandar, had been demanding the imposition of sharia law and the removal of the democratically elected government. 

“He appears to be mentally unstable considering the childish demands he has made,” Islamabad police chief Sikandar Hayat told reporters.

The standoff began when the gunman, accompanied by his wife and two children, was stopped by police for driving in the wrong direction along Jinnah Avenue, close to Islamabad’s Red Zone.

The Red Zone contains the president’s residence, the prime minister’s office, parliament and other key government buildings.  

Sikandar stopped his car in the middle of a road, got out with two assault rifles and started firing. The scene was televised live by Pakistan’s private cable channels. 

Several hours of negotiations followed in which Sikandar used his wife as an intermediary to pass messages to police. He refused to surrender until sharia law was introduced and demanded safe passage for him and his family.  

The standoff finally ended after a former MP, Zamurd Khan, who was talking to the gunman, tried to grab Sikandar, leading to a shootout. The gunman, his wife, the politician and two policemen were all shot.

All except the gunman were reportedly out of danger while the children were being cared for, officials said.

Moments before the final showdown, the couple spoke to Express News, saying that Pakistan was established in the name of Islam and their only intention was to see Islamic law enforced in the country.

“The country should be handed over to people who have an understanding of Islam and sharia,” Sikandar said.

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