LAHORE: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid has said both the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) are not in a position to fight with the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government, as they have nothing to do but to speak to the media.

“I am of the view that the both PML-N and PPP will not fight with the government, as they will just play ‘media media’ appearing on TV channels. Their discussions on the media are not so important,” he said while responding to a question related to a recent statement of the PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto in which he expressed his desire to finish the government within no time (if could do so), at a press conference here on Saturday.

“If they (PML-N, PPP and PTI) can make NAB ordinance jointly, they could also be together on other issues too. So they (the PPP and the PML-N) will not create any hurdle for the government,” he added.

Mr Rashid said except Maulana Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) all others were with the government, including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which he termed a good and gentle party. However, he said, the Maulana would be welcomed if he visited Islamabad for a rally. “He would be welcomed, if he comes to Islamabad with intention to hold Jalsa (rally). We will offer him pakoras, samosas and halwa to eat. But if he has plans for a sit-in, he will be nabbed,” he reiterated.

While commenting on raising of a slogan “Go Imran Go” on the issue of massive price hike at a recent function in Lahore, the minister said if it happened in Lahore, it meant it was staged. “I have already said that the price hike is a main challenge this government has been facing. It (price hike) is our opposition. It is our Saukan (other wife),” he said.

He reiterated that Maryam Nawaz would not be able to move abroad as the federal cabinet was the main hurdle in her way. “But if Maryam succeeded in going abroad, the PML-N’s politics will change. So I don’t think someone within her family doesn’t want her to be sent abroad,” Rashid maintained.

He termed wheat flour and sugar crises a conspiracy against the government. However, he said, Prime Minister Imran Khan was after those involved in creating such crisis. He said keeping Pakistan on the ‘grey list’ by the FATF meant the country was given some more time. “Actually such problems are just because we are still with China. But we are proud to be friends of China,” he said.

He said families of 65 of the total 73 passengers killed in Tezgam fire tragedy had already received financial compensation.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2020

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