'Nation voted for Imran to hold the corrupt accountable, but we failed in it,' says Rashid
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Sunday said the nation had voted for Imran Khan to hold all the corrupt and money launderers accountable, but "we failed to do so".
Addressing what appeared to be a tell-all presser in Karachi, the minister said that Imran Khan wished to catch all those who plundered national wealth through the legal course of action "but the roots of the mafia in this country are so deep that we couldn't get a hold of them".
Rashid said the opposition should be afraid of the time when people vent out their anger at them.
"People are blaming us for the situation [inflation], but it actually happened because of past rulers," the minister stressed, while admitting "it is our mistake that we couldn't explain it to the people."
He said the initiatives taken by the government including disbursement of health and ration cards were not ordinary measures, however, "we just could not let people realise the importance of such facilities".
He also highlighted that he would not shy away from accepting the country was facing a gas crisis at the moment, adding "it is a reality".
'One-way ticket for Nawaz Sharif'
The minister, while turning his guns on former premier Nawaz Sharif, said the convicted PM had left the country after much drama, adding "probably he is healthy as he did not consult any doctor [in London] since the time he made it there".
Also read: How can a convict become PM, wonders PM Imran
Rashid also accused Sharif of attacking the judiciary and giving statements on the army while sitting abroad. But, according to the minister, it didn't make any difference as "Imran is not going anywhere."
His remarks come a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan had expressed surprise over media reports that self-exiled Sharif was returning home as his (Nawaz’s) conviction could be withdrawn. “How can a convicted person become prime minister of the country for a fourth time?” PM Imran had asked.
'Border fencing to be done through consensus'
Talking about the progress of talks with the Afghan Taliban over the border situation, Rashid said Pakistan wanted the border fencing work to continue through consensus.
"It took a lot of money for this work to be done. We invited the whole world to Pakistan as we want to help the [Afghan] Taliban. They have also assured us their soil won't be used against Pakistan," noted the minister.
Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan had a week ago disrupted the erecting of a security fence by the Pakistani military along the border between the two countries.
Pakistan has fenced most of the 2,600km border despite protestations from Kabul, which has contested the British-era boundary demarcation that splits families and tribes on either side.
Afghan defence ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi on Dec 19 said Taliban forces stopped the Pakistani military from erecting what he called an “illegal” border fence along the eastern province of Nangarhar.
However, it was reported by Dawn a day ago that Pakistan and Afghan Taliban authorities had overcome the row over border fencing by agreeing that further fencing would be done through consensus.
In his presser, Rashid also informed that there will be a meeting convened tomorrow at 2pm to discuss the Afghan situation. He, however, did not divulge more details of the meeting’s agenda.
Responding to a question, the minister said the [government] had indirect contacts with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan.
'Talks with Altaf Hussain out of question'
To a question about the MQM, Rashid said he had good terms with the party but there was no possibility of talks with its founder Altaf Hussain.
"There are several cases including ones related to murder and anarchy registered against him, but when it comes to talks, it cannot be held," he added.