Former minister terms conflict with military a mistake

 

ISLAMABAD:

Awami Muslim League (AML) president and former minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Friday resurfaced after remaining out of touch since his reported arrest from a private housing society in Islamabad on Sept 17.

In an interview with a private TV channel, Rashid, who served as the interior minister in the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, said that he had gone for a 40-day preach mission (tableegh).

Rashid stated that he was giving the interview because it had become a tradition now. “I had gone for preaching,” Rashid told the interviewer. “Allah gave me the opportunity to spend 40 days in preaching, and no one harmed me. Everyone cooperated with me and all the days passed smoothly.”

The former minister said that his AML was the smallest political party in the country. However, he stressed: “I belong to my party and will remain so. Neither I am disbanding it [AML] nor am I joining any other party.”

 

Rashid praised Pakistan Army as the greatest military in the world. He stated that he had been pro-military since day-one, taking the pride in stating that “I am a spokesperson for the Pakistan Army”.
He stressed that politicians must work with the institutions.

Speaking about the ongoing situation, Rashid said that he had always advised former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan not to come into conflict with the military. He particularly mentioned that criticising army chief Gen Asim Munir was a “blunder”.

Continuing, he said that each one of the three men, who had been negotiating with the military on behalf of the PTI chairman, had now left their own political parties. He admitted that he tried to contribute to this “good work” but Imran Khan was a “stubborn politician”.

To a question about the cipher issue, the former interior minister said that he had been involved in the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting regarding the cipher and was a witness to all the discussions.

Rashid said that during the no-confidence motion against then prime minister Imran Khan in the National Assembly, the then PTI ally, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, spoke to him. “And it was then I realised that the PTI government is over.”

About the violence in the country, following the arrest of the PTI chairman on May 9 this year, Rashid explained that he was out of the country at that time but the next day on May 10, he condemned the violence “but my condemnation was not highlighted much”.

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