Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Thursday there was hardly any opposition politician who had not met the Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, including the JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
“From Maulana [Fazlur Rehman] to Bilawal [Bhutto Zardari], all opposition leaders meet the army chief,” minister said, while talking to the reporters at the Faisalabad Railway Station. “Why the fuss, it is an honour to meet the army chief and the ISI chief,” he added.
When asked about his Wednesday comments that some senior politicians from the PML-N had had two meetings with the military leadership in as many months, he said: “What have I said that has caused a stir? I will expose a leader in a week."
When asked about the between the army chief and senior PML-N leader Muhammad Zubair, the minister said that the army chief did not invite Muhammad Zubair for a meeting but the PML-N leader had himself requested for it.
Zubair, had said that the army chief was a friend and he [Gen Bajwa] invited him to Islamabad when they met at the Valima of federal minister Asad Umar’s son. Rashid said that he also attended the Valima and was sitting with the army chief, when “Zubair requested a meeting with the army chief”.
“Zubair hasn’t even met Gen Bajwa once in the past 36 years before the two meetings,” he said, referring to military spokesperson Major General Babar Iftikhar, who had told a private TV channel that the PML-N leader met the army chief in the last week of August and on September 7.
He rejected the criticism unleashed by the opposition leaders against him. In response to the criticism from PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Rashid invoked the seniority card. “I have been a member of the National Assembly since before Bilawal was born,” he said.
As for PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, he said that the former prime minister remained silent for a year but after his speech at opposition APC, he had dug grave of his own political future. “Nawaz Sharif is not against Imran Khan but against the army,” he added, accusing the former prime minister of supporting the Indian agenda.
“All these people [opposition leaders] want to mislead the nation,” he continued. “If the opposition resigns, we will hold elections tomorrow but PPP will not resign from the Sindh Assembly,” he added. “Opposition parties will not resign, they will not hold sit-ins and they will not move a no-confidence motion.”