No deal struck between govt, Sharif family: minister

Updated November 18, 2019

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RAWALPINDI: Federal Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed travels with foreign tourists in the Steam Engine Safari Train.—Online
RAWALPINDI: Federal Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed travels with foreign tourists in the Steam Engine Safari Train.—Online

RAWALPINDI: Rejec­ting speculation that the government and the Sharif family have struck a political deal, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Sunday said the Lahore High Court (LHC) gave both parties a face saving.

“PTI government did not want to let Nawaz Sharif go abroad without submitting indemnity bond, but the LHC gave relief to him which is a win-win situation for both the parties and it is neither a defeat nor a victory for anyone,” he stated while inaugurating the Steam Engine Safari Train from Rawalpindi to Attock on Sunday.

Tourists from the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, Italy and Germany travelled in the train. The objective of the train was to project the culture, civilisation, heritage and worth seeing beautiful places of Pakistan before the world.

Sheikh Rashid inaugurates Steam Engine Safari Train

Talking to reporters, the minister said that no one played a role in sending Nawaz Sharif abroad, and it was purely a decision of the LHC. He claimed that good days for the country’s politics would come and the whole political scenario will change by January 15 next year.

“Sharif family is miser and they did not give money when they went to Saudi Arabia. They left Hamza Shahbaz as a surety bond,” he said and added that the government should let them go.

He said that Nawaz Sharif’s platelets were going up and down like stock exchanges and he was on electronic media for many days by taking a thermometer and distracted the attention of the people. He said the former prime minister would go abroad for four weeks for treatment.

Commenting on the JUI-F’s sit-in, Sheikh Rashid said that Maulana Fazlur Rehman took a wise and timely decision to call off the sit-in as he got nothing out of it. “The timing of the sit-in was not right and in politics and war, timing is important. Maulana Fazlur Rehman did not choose the right time for his protest,” he added.

He said that Asif Ali Zardari was involved in five cases and five people were trying to get plea bargain.

The minister said that the country had become a tourist attraction under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan. “Pakistan is a beautiful country with its cultural diversity and old civilisation,” he added.

He said that the government was striving to control the price hike and create job opportunities for youths. “The recent surge in the prices of daily-use items was a result of corruption of past rulers.”

He condemned the recent fire incident in a train and said that he was thankful to the Tableeghi Jamaat for imposing a ban on participants of its congregations to carry gas stoves during train journey.

Talking about the steam engine, he said: “We have decided to use a 100-year-old steam engine. I thank the people of Austria, Italy and Japan and their suggestions to improve these engines.”

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2019