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Will stand with Imran if there’s war with institutions, says Rashid

Rasheed says "Imran Khan is not going to withdraw his demand for elections

ISLAMABAD: Former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has asserted that if there is a war with institutions, then he will stand by former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan like a rock because he considers him to be on the right side.

Talking to a foreign news agency, the Awami Muslim League (AML) chief said that for the first time in his political career, he has informed the army that he has decided to side with Imran Khan.

The veteran politician pointed out that all matters with the army were going well and they were on the same page, but suddenly misunderstandings emerged between them, which should not have happened. However, Rashid added he also supports the army and considers the military an “essential part of Pakistan.”

He said that while the Pakistan Army supports every elected government, something happened that Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) left them along with half of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q). He added that they made a mistake somewhere.

Rashid said that he had been saying for a long time that March and April were important months. He added that he was in favour of reconciliation with the army and efforts were made, but no response has been received so far.

He further said that their only demand is fair and transparent elections. “We are with the army and as long as this government is in power, let it govern,” he added.

The former interior minister said that the public’s sentiments are in front of everyone and the date for the election should be announced till May 31. “If we come to Islamabad then we will not leave without an election date,” he said.

Rashid further said that he is foreseeing Imran Khan to be clean-sweeping the elections. “And if he works hard to win over the people of Sindh, this province will also support the PTI,” he added.

Commenting on the success of the no-confidence motion, Rashid said that he had full confidence in MQM-P, which is why he was confident that the government would survive it. However, he added, the day MQM-P announced support for the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the government lost.

Regarding the incident at Masjid-e-Nabawi, the former minister said that he said that wherever these people (government) goes, the people will express their feelings by calling them thieves. He said that while the numbers were few in Madina, if the rulers go to London, a million people would stage a protest against them and they would have to go in armoured vehicles.

He also made it clear that he does not want democracy to end and the only way to avoid that is by holding early elections. He said that Imran too does not want martial law, rather he wants elections, and is ready for talks and negotiations with the government.

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