Irresponsible statements being issued against state institutions: Sheikh Rasheed

LAHORE: Lashing out at PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, the interior minister Thursday cautioned Opposition leaders from uttering “irresponsible statements” against state institutions. 

“Individuals represent institutions,” said Sheikh Rasheed. “You don’t become a corps commander without performing duties at tough terrains such as mountains and deserts,” he said, speaking of former DG ISI Faiz Hameed. 

Reacting to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s earlier statement on reconciling with the PML-N’s opponents for maintaining the rule of law in the country, the interior minister said the “ship has sailed”. 

Speaking about the NAB ordinance approved by the prime minister, Rasheed said it was a “legal step taken to remove objections raised by people and the business community.”

He said it was a “calculated step” by the government, reiterating that it had been taken to facilitate people. 

When asked why he was kept out of the loop on the government’s discussions with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Rasheed said it was Pakistan’s wish that Afghanistan’s soil would not be used for subversive activities.

“No talks, as per my knowledge, have taken place yet [between the government and the TTP],” he stated. 

Speaking about the General Elections 2023, Rasheed said only two years are left in the government’s constitutional tenure, adding it plans to spend the six months of its rule in electioneering campaigning. 

However, he predicted that a “new alignment between the PPP and the PML-N” would emerge for the next elections. 

“I am Imran Khan’s companion; I came with him and will also go with him,” he added. 

In response to a question, Rasheed said it “has been proven” that India had a hand in New Zealand’s last-minute withdrawal from Pakistan. “I am saying this to you after a thorough verification. The security personnel that we deployed for the New Zealand team were more in number than the soldiers in their army.”

He said 8,000 security personnel were deployed to keep the New Zealand team safe while “they [New Zealand Army] are only 7,800 in number”.