Govt will never strike a deal with Fazlur Rehman: interior minister

Updated September 12, 2019

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Interior Minis­ter retired Brig Ijaz Ahmad Shah. —  Photo courtesy Abid Nawaz via The Sydney Morning Herald/File
Interior Minis­ter retired Brig Ijaz Ahmad Shah. — Photo courtesy Abid Nawaz via The Sydney Morning Herald/File

Interior Minis­ter retired Brig Ijaz Ahmad Shah on Wednesday said that the government will never strike a deal with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and was confident that his call for a march on Islamabad will not be met with the kind of response Rehman seeks.

"People will not join Fazlur Rehman in this exercise," the interior minister declared in an exclusive interview with DawnNewsTV.

He went on to say that not only will there be no deal, but the JUI-F chief will himself lose interest and back off from the idea.

The interior minister said that he respects Rehman, "as he is, after all, a religious scholar," but questioned the wisdom of such a move "when India has its hands over our jugular vein (Kashmir)".

Brig Shah expressed conviction that the government will not only prevail in this term but will succeed in getting re-elected for another. "In the next four years, Pakistan will witness substantial improvements," he added.

He said that the condition the country was currently in could not be blamed on one individual. "The ruling class has destroyed Pakistan," he said, holding all previous governments equally responsible.

The interior minister also said that in its mission to bring things back on track, the government had decided to "control all jihadi groups". "Pakistan has no room for war lords and terrorists," he declared.

He vowed that no extremist will be allowed the use of Pakistani soil for their nefarious designs. Brig Shah, to that end, called attention to the fact that all madressahs belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Jamatud Dawa (JuD) had been placed under government control.

Brig Shah also highlighted the work done to bring in money launderers. "Imran Khan, despite all criticism, has ordered a crackdown against money laundering."

He said that had new life not been breathed into the Asif Ali Zardari case, he would not have been in jail. "The case against Zardari is robust despite the fact that white collar crimes are hard to prove," he said.

The interior minister said that in the video leak scandal case, the Sharifs should have been indicted. "The video against the judge (Arshad Malik) had been ordered to be made by the Sharif brothers," he claimed.

He rejected the impression that the government would enter into a deal at any point with the opposition. "Those who strike such deals will be removed from Islamabad," he warned.

"Those with weak constitutions left the opposition and joined the PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf). PTI is under no threat from any party," said Brig Shah.

He said that the government is sorting out 70-year-old mistakes and is therefore going through a tough time. "The prime minister grills cabinet members in each session, asking them what improvements they have brought (to their ministries) which will impact the daily lives of the people," said the interior minister.

The interior minister said that if everyone does not unite to solve the country's problems, they will regret it later.