Sheikh Rasheed Pakistani Railway and interior miniter

Can Sheikh Rasheed Bear The Pressure Of PDM?

by Ali Asad

Nation witnessed the fourth ministerial reshuffle of federal cabinet in less than three years on Friday. The president, on the advice of Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday appointed Sheikh Rashid Ahmad as the federal interior minister. He is tasked to handle the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) anti-government movement; an alliance of 11 political parties sitting at opposition benches.

The reshuffle came on the heels of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruling that unelected advisers and special assistants could not head government committees. Though, there were speculations in the power corridors of Islamabad during last few months regarding likely changes in the federal cabinet. The government made the move in the wake of the court judgment.

On the other hand, continuous pressure building tactics used by the PDM to suppress government is becoming headache for Imran Khan. Tomorrow PDM is landing at Minar-e-Pakistan. Jalsa in the backyard of Lahore; a stronghold of Pakistan Muslim League (N) who is still in shock of seeing Imran Khan sitting at throne.

In his first press conference after being appointed minister for interior, Sheikh Rasheed lambasted the PDM and said that Prime Minister Imran Khan is not going anywhere, not in the least with a copied Minar-e-Pakistan rally. He repeatedly expressed his view that opposition is free to fulfill its desire of holding rallies. Not so very candid Sheikh Rasheed who is famous for his direct and blunt remarks regarding opposition.

PTI salivated from this very ground. Will the rise of PDM at Minar-e-Pakistan prove to be the downfall of government? Only if PDM manage to fill the Minar-e-Pakistan at first place.

 A threat of resignations from the assemblies, long march and the upcoming PDM rally in Lahore tomorrow is the instant tasked to be handled. Given the history, a home minister has to have good relations with Rawalpindi. But a minister hailing from Rawalpindi doesn’t guarantee good relations with Rawalpindi. Chaudhary Nisar was a different case-study. Did Rawalpindi gave green signal for Sheikh Rasheed’s appointment as home minister or it was Imran Khan’s desperate effort of damage control for time being? Time will tell.

He said that the Ministry of Interior during his stint would end money laundering, land grabbing and corruption in the country. He was determined to introduce modern border management system, provide passport facilities to the poor and improve matters of immigration and try to improve the law and order situation in all four provinces.

Was he installed to do all these task or just to handle the threat of PDM looming on the government? His tenure as the home minister will clear the air.

He looked pretty determined about the PDM’s Lahore episode failure. He ensured that on December 14th, 15th, and 16th we will bring good news for Prime Minister Imran Khan. There will be nothing but success for the government and failure for this lot.

What value Sheikh Rasheed will add to the interior ministry is not of discussion right now in Islamabad. What measures and tactics will he use to tackle the threat of PDM is the hot topic. The interior minister-installed is tasked to counter the political demonstrations; a country already vulnerable at its borders and much other areas. What will happen next? It’s just a day left to wait and guess.

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