Rashid says PM asked him not to renew Nawaz’s passport

Published January 16, 2021
Interior Minis­ter Sheikh Rashid Ahmed addresses a press conference in Lahore on Friday. — APP
Interior Minis­ter Sheikh Rashid Ahmed addresses a press conference in Lahore on Friday. — APP
LAHORE: People wait in queues in freezing cold to get CNICs from the National Database and Registration Authority’s mobile vans parked outside its Egerton Road office. This is Nadra’s main office in Lahore which was kept closed during the visit of Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Friday for security reasons. — M. Arif / White Star
LAHORE: People wait in queues in freezing cold to get CNICs from the National Database and Registration Authority’s mobile vans parked outside its Egerton Road office. This is Nadra’s main office in Lahore which was kept closed during the visit of Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Friday for security reasons. — M. Arif / White Star

LAHORE: Interior Minis­ter Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Friday reiterated the government’s policy regarding Nawaz Sharif, saying the PML-N supreme leader’s passport would not be renewed.

Mr Sharif has been living in London on medical grounds for several months.

In reply to a question during a visit to Nadra office here, Sheikh Rashid said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked him not to renew Mr Sharif’s passport. The interior ministry had decided accordingly, he added.

The minister said the government would not stop the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s planned protest outside the office of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad on Tuesday if the latter did so by abiding law.

Addressing a press conference at the Nadra office, he said the opposition could practise its constitutional right to hold a protest and the government would not create any hurdle in its way, “but the law will take its course if any unrest is created in the capital”.

Mr Rashid recalled that he had already predicted that the opposition lawmakers would never resign from assemblies as they would participate in Senate elections and by-polls, and they would also stage a march on Islamabad.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan has formed a committee, headed by the interior minister (himself), to hold talks with the opposition and it is getting down to work,” he said.

Mr Ahmed asked JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to refrain from creating divisions and unrest in the country, otherwise, the government would have to take action.

He said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government was not afraid of the PDM protest, but it was time to observe whether the opposition would respect the law and the Constitution or not.

He said the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was playing its cards very wisely for its political gains under the PDM umbrella. “However, Prime Minister Imran Khan will not enter into any deal with the opposition leaders because he is committed to holding all those people accountable who have plundered the national exchequer.”

He said that policies of previous corrupt governments had caused inflation in the country.

In reply to another question, Mr Rashid said that the PML-N leaders had neither given any answer about their assets and money trail in the Panama case nor in the Broadsheet, but they were propagating to hide their lies and corruption.

The minister said that opposition members would backtrack on their resignations when they would be asked about it by the speaker in personal hearing.

In reply to a question about Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Mr Rashid said that comprehensive reforms would soon be introduced in it to improve its performance and working to minimise its mistakes.

“A law will soon be introduced to show leniency to those deportees who went abroad to earn their livelihood,” the minister said.

Earlier, he said that instructions had been given to set up two more Nadra offices, while 100,000 free-of-cost identity cards would be issued to people.

It was also planned, he said, to set up Nadra offices at tehsil level and visa issuance system had also been put online to facilitate Afghans and other applicants.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2021

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