Legislators’ resignations must be handwritten, Rashid tells opposition

Published December 29, 2020
Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed addresses the media in Islamabad on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed addresses the media in Islamabad on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

ISLAMABAD: Claiming that the opposition will reconsider its decision to resign from assemblies, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Monday said the resignations should be handwritten.

“Computer printed resignations have no legal value,” he pointed out while talking to reporters during a visit to the office of Islamabad chief commissioner.

About the controversy whether PML-N MNA Murtaza Javed Abbasi had tendered his resignation or not, the minister said that Maryam Nawaz had in her speech at Larkana rally on Sunday claimed that the lawmaker would “throw” his resignation before the speaker of the National Assembly. But on the other side, he added, “you…see Abbasi saying ‘I did not send this’ to the speaker”.

The minister said it was up to Mr Abbasi to decide “whether he wants to listen to Maryam” or get an investigation done as to who sent a resignation in his name to the NA Secretariat. “I am sure that he will say to the speaker that it [sending the resignation] was a fraud.”

Govt to decide its response after PDM announces date for its long march

Mr Ahmed said that the opposition’s main battle was actually against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the process of accountability.

The minister hit hard at PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, accusing the two of running money laundering networks. He said they just wanted the government and NAB to ignore the cases against them.

He particularly mentioned Manzoor Paperwalla belonging to Pind Dadan Khan, who allegedly gave $8 million to Hamza Shahbaz, and a falooda seller who is said to have millions coming into his fake account created for money laundering.

Responding to a question that Nawaz Sharif had opposed the national dialogue, Sheikh Rashid said that opposition leaders kept “silent” for two years because they thought they would get an opportunity to save their skins. However, he added, they suddenly got united when they realised that what they wanted did not happen.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had only one slogan that he would neither give any NRO-like deal nor would NAB be disbanded whether the proposed national dialogue was held or not.

The minister said the government would decide its response when the PDM announced the date for its long march.

“Imran Khan can take any decision. We have not held a meeting and are yet to decide when and where we will set up reception camps for them,” he said while castigating the opposition.

Sheikh Rashid said that Pakistan Army neither remained involved in politics nor would it do so in the future.

“Pakistan Army was with democracy, is with democracy and will remain with democracy,” he declared.

He wondered why the opposition did not name Gen Zia when they talked about the alleged role of the army in politics. Referring to Nawaz Sharif’s close association with the former military dictator, he said: “They are a product of GHQ’s gate number four.”

The interior minister was responding to the speeches of PDM leadership made a day before at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in Larkana on the occasion of Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary.

The minister slammed Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah for slogans of “PM Bilawal Bhutto” at the rally in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh and asked “if you want to play with under nineteen, please have a mercy on this country”. He said Asif Zardari held a PhD degree in criminology.

The interior minister announced a housing colony for print and electronic media journalists, including cameramen and photographers, in Islamabad.

He said directives had been issued to the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration for identification of a suitable site and all decisions in this regard would be taken in coordination with the elected bodies of the journalist community.

Sharing decisions of the meeting he chaired at the Chief Commissioner Office, he said that from Jan 1 the registration process of all locally produced new vehicles would be completed within 24 hours.

He said that three service stations titled “May I Help You” would be established in different localities of the capital, manned by the staff of the departments concerned, including police, Nadra, Registration Office, ICT and traffic police.

The minister said that two ‘Food Night Bazaars’ would be opened in the capital where food chains would be allowed to operate throughout the night.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2020

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