Rashid predicts PML-N’s political end after AJK polls

Minister says Sharif is crying trouble, forgetting he himself invited it

Our Correspondent July 24, 2021
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid is seen addressing a news conference, in Lahore on July 24, 2021. SCREENGRAB


Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Saturday once again reiterated his hope that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) would sweep the Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) election, alleging that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had no political future as it was “ruined by Maryam Nawaz’s irresponsible language”.

Talking to the media after inaugurating the succession certificate kiosk at the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) office, the minister said that the PTI’s victory in AJK would be announced at Lal Haveli, Rawalpindi (his residence) on Sunday at 7pm.

He said the PTI would form the government in the valley and “then you will hear the opposition parties wailing”.

Taking a jibe at the oppositions parties, Rashid said despite the solemn assurances from Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and deployment of the armed forces at the polling stations, the political rivals have started “illogical hue and cry” over the issue of protection of the ballot boxes. “Even then, they have decided not to accept their defeat.”

To a question, he said that Nawaz Sharif was “crying” that he was in great trouble, adding that the PML-N supremo had himself invited it. “If you [Sharif] announce your return to the country in the morning, I will send you a chartered plane the same evening with full security of your choice. I want you to come back in good health, as it will be better for everyone,” he said.

“On what grounds are the looters claiming to be defenders of the poor Pakistanis. They choose to wear branded clothes, shoes and other articles for themselves at the cost of public exchequer while ignoring the poor people during their tenures.”

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Rashid predicted that the PML-N had no political future and Sharif’s irresponsible statements would sink his party soon.

He recalled that Sharif had always shown great love and affection for the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and questioned: “On what basis, Sharif is making tall claims of being a Kashmiri.” He said such statements were hurting the sentiments of the people of Kashmir.

Contrary to this, he said, Prime Minister Imran Khan had effectively raised the issue of Kashmir at every international forum, asserting that Pakistan would continue with its diplomatic, political and moral support for Kashmiris’ struggle for their right to self-determination.

The next six months were very important, as India and Israel had started hybrid warfare against Pakistan, he added.

He advised the opposition parties to focus on the next general election campaign instead of making hue and cry, citing that the election campaign had been going on in AJK for the last four months, where the constituencies were not larger than the ones in Pakistan, which needed more time for canvassing.

To another question, he said despite being the chairman of the Kashmir Committee for so long, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had done nothing for the Kashmiris.


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