A Pakistani man who ran off with his forbidden love, a young woman from a rival ethnic clan, was shot and wounded Wednesday when he arrived to answer charges in the case. Police arrested the bride's father and brother.

One bullet lodged near Kanwar Ahson's heart; others struck his abdomen and leg. He was in critical condition with 70 police officers guarding his operating room.Police arrested eight Pathan tribesman, including Ahson's father-in-law and brother-in-law. The men allegedly ambushed Ah-son when he entered a courthouse in this southern port city to address charges he violated a law against extramarital sex.

The man whom the woman's family had intended her to marry was also arrested.

Ahson, a member of the mohajir community, and Riffat Afridi, an 18-year-old Pathan, eloped last month against her family's wishes. In conservative Pakistan, most families arrange their daughters' marriages.

Initially, her family accused Ahson, in his late 20s, of kidnapping their daughter, a charge the newlyweds have denied.

The marriage sparked riots in the port city of Karachi, and a council of Pathan elders sentenced Afridi to death, saying she had dishonored her family. Afridi turned herself in to police. She remains in custody.

The couple is charged with having sex outside marriage, a crime in this Muslim country. Ahson has produced their marriage certificate.

Wednesday, with Ahson to appear in court, 250 ethnic Pathans gathered outside the courthouse. The gunmen apparently had entered the courtroom earlier and waited on an upper floor.

"We were walking up the stairs to the courtroom when the gunmen opened fire from a floor above," said Obaidullah, a policeman who uses only one name. Obaidullah, one of several officers guarding Ahson, was wounded.

Police returned fire and arrested the gunmen. No further details on injuries or the arrests were available.

Ahson was taken to the nearby Civil Hospital, where he was taken into surgery. Doctors appealed for blood donors.

Police identified three of the gunmen as Jabbar Afridi, the father of the bride, Abbass Afridi, her brother, and Niazbat Khan, the man her family claimed she had previously married.