SUKKUR: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah said on Monday that religion should not be used for achieving political objectives.

Talking to reporters at his residence here, he said the trend of using religion for achieving political objectives was dangerous for the country.

Mr Shah criticised the federal government’s handling of the Faizabad sit-in, saying that instead of tackling the issue politically the government had ordered a crackdown on the protesters. After the botched crackdown, he added, it seemed that the government had transferred all its powers to the director general of Punjab Rangers to settle the issue.

He criticised the government also for banning TV news channels and placing curbs on social media networks.

Opposition leaders criticise government’s handling of Faizabad sit-in

Talking about the changing political situation in the region, he said Pakistan needed to review its foreign policy because it was losing its friends in the region. He said the government should take measures for improving the country’s relations with its neighbours.

Rejecting the demands for an early election in the country, the opposition leader said that the next general elections should be held according to the schedule. He said the country’s future was attached with democracy, adding that if civilian governments were allowed to function properly the country would be in a much better position economically after 20 to 25 years.

Answering a question, he claimed that there were serious differences between senior leaders of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). He claimed that PML-N president Nawaz Sharif did not want to see former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar in the PML-N anymore. But he does not want to expel Mr Nisar from the party and he is hoping that the former interior minister will himself quit it. However, he claimed that Mr Nisar did not want to quit the PML-N.

Mr Shah rejected the impression that there was a difference in the political views of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. He said the PPP had faced many difficult situations since its formation, but it had always worked for the prosperity of the country.

On a question about Sunday’s public meeting in Sukkur by some anti-PPP parties and their plan to form a ‘grand democratic alliance’ to contest the next elections, Mr Shah said that all these parties did not enjoy the support of the masses.

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2017

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