Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Saturday said that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) would complete its tenure, “no matter how many times Bilawal Bhutto visits the US” and tries to “deal a blow” to the premier’s time in office.
Hitting out at the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto, the federal minister said, “He [Bilawal] can go to America for as many times as he wishes to,” and affirmed that Prime Minister Imran Khan will complete his tenure of five years regardless of Bilawal’s “attempts” at impeding it.
Addressing a public meeting, the minister claimed that after the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) elections, the strained relations between the opposition and the government would improve.
To a question, the federal minister claimed that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) had become a “dead horse”, “after failing to grab the attention of the people”.
Rashid said: “I will accompany the prime minister to Azad Kashmir for the election campaign. It is expected that the premier will visit the state in the coming days”.
He said it was the premier who voiced the concerns of the disenfranchised people of Kashmir all over the world. He promised the premier would “play a historic role in resolving the Kashmir issue”.
On the emerging situation in the region after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Rashid said that PM Imran, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the Foreign Office were making all-out efforts for long-lasting peace.
The top civil and military leadership was striving to bring both the Afghan government and Taliban to a table to ensure long-lasting peace in Afghanistan, he added.
He said that Pakistan wanted peace in Afghanistan, adding: “Whatever the people of Afghanistan decide, we will accept.”
The minister also categorically denied that Pakistan would allow any country to use its land for disturbing regional peace.
On Friday, Pakistan assured the US that it would remain a reliable partner for peace in Afghanistan, as there was a fundamental convergence between the two countries on the need for a peaceful settlement in the war-torn country.
According to the Foreign Office, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken by telephone and discussed bilateral relations and important developments in the region, including the situation in Afghanistan and efforts for a political settlement there.
Shedding light on the issue of the stranded people at Torkham, Rashid clarified that as per the government’s policy, only those who were inoculated against the Covid-19 would be allowed to cross the border.
The decision to this effect was taken in the wake of new variants of the coronavirus pandemic, he added.
Those who had not been vaccinated and were found to be positive with the virus, he added, would be sent for quarantine in the dedicated area.
Torkham border is open for vaccinated people, he added.
Rashid reiterated the government’s policy, saying that it would not hold any talks with India until the restoration of the pre-August 5 status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
To another query, the minister said that the Nullah Leh Express project would be completed in three years which would eventually provide a major relief to the people of Rawalpindi. (With input from News Desk)