The man, who had been travelling in a car with a woman reported to be his wife and two young children, started firing into the air in the central Jinnah Avenue neighbourhood – less than a kilometre from the presidency and parliament buildings – after being stopped for a traffic violation on Thursday afternoon, police said.
An AFP photographer at the scene said the man was holding a submachine gun and a Kalashnikov.
State-run Pakistan television PTV identified the gunman as Sikandar from central Punjab province.
As Pakistan’s television stations broadcast the stand-off live, viewers saw the man shot by police commandos.
“Condition of Sikandar is critical and doctors are trying to save his life,” doctor Wasim Khawaja, a spokesman for the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences hospital in central Islamabad told AFP.
“He received two bullets, one in the upper body and one in the left leg,” he added.
“The woman was hit in her right leg but she is out of danger.”
The gunman was under arrest, police said.
“He has been arrested and he is alive, it was a matter of human lives and that’s why we took all steps to save human lives,” Islamabad police chief Sikandar Hayat told private Pakistani TV channel Geo.
The stand-off came to a head when politician Zamurd Khan, a leader of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, who was acting as a negotiator, jumped on the gunman and tried to disarm him.
The gunman broke free and fired at Khan, who was not injured, live footage on Geo TV showed. The woman and children were standing nearby.
Police and paramilitary forces shot the gunman, who fell to the ground and was carried away by police and paramilitary officers.
Television footage showed the young boy trying to rush over to the gunman after he was shot, but Khan held him back.
Hayat confirmed that the children had not been injured.
“I was sitting at home and watching this whole drama on TV,” Khan, who is being hailed a hero by local media, told Geo TV.
“I came out with a commitment that I will catch this guy, even if it takes my life.”
Hayat said that the man had made several demands during the stand-off, including the resignation of the government and the enforcement of Islamic Sharia law in Pakistan.
“He was also demanding release of one of his sons, whom he said was jailed in Dubai,” Hayat said.
The stand-off, which began at 5.30pm (1230 GMT) ended at 11pm.
Jinnah Avenue is a busy commercial neighbourhood and is a high-security area as the road leads to the presidency and parliament house.
The area was evacuated with markets and shops shut down, and the road where the gunman’s black Toyota Corolla car was parked was blocked by police, who were surrounding him.
Bomb disposal experts checked the car for explosives after the gunman’s arrest and announced it was safe.
Police had earlier said the motives of the man were unknown but he was demanding a safe passage and protection for his family.
The drama was broadcast live by at least three Pakistani private television channels, with TV anchors questioning how police and other law enforcement agencies failed to check an armed man who drove into an area so close to the presidency and parliament house.
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari praised Khan’s actions during the stand-off.
Zardari “lauded the courage of PPP leader Zamurd Khan who, risking his own life, has helped law enforcing agencies getting hold of the armed man tonight in Islamabad”, a statement from the presidency said.
“The President also appreciated the role of security agencies who have handled the situation in a discreet manner and have averted any mishap,” it added.
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