Pakistan might move towards early elections: Sheikh Rasheed

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Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed addressing a press conference in Punjabs capital, Lahore, on March 24, 2022. — Screengrab via YouTube/PTV News
Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed addressing a press conference in Punjab's capital, Lahore, on March 24, 2022. — Screengrab via YouTube/PTV News

  • PM Imran Khan will defeat no-trust motion, Sheikh Rasheed says.
  • Interior minister says nation to only hear "good news from now.
  • Rasheed warns Opposition against taking law into their hands.

LAHORE: Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said Thursday the country might move towards early elections, but maintained that Prime Minister Imran Khan would defeat the Opposition's no-confidence motion.

"I want Pakistan and democracy to progress [...]. The situation in the country is moving towards betterment with every passing day," the interior minister said while addressing a press conference in Punjab's capital.

Rasheed's comments come as the political temperature continues to move up, especially in Punjab and the Centre, after the Opposition filed a no-confidence motion against the premier.

Read more: Voting is individual right of MNAs, says SCBA

The prime minister, however, has ruled out stepping down from office and vowed to counter every move the Opposition throws his way. But the joint Opposition has also claimed that the government's allies — whose support is crucial for PTI to stay in power — have parted ways with the PTI.

The government's ally in the Centre, the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), has assured PM Imran Khan of complete support ahead of the no-trust motion, while other allies — BAP, MQM-P, and PML-Q — are still indecisive.

Only 'good news'

Moving on, the interior minister said the nation would only hear "good news" from now, as he claimed that the government was also in talks with the Opposition members.

Read more: Govt offers Tareen group ‘funds’ in return for giving up 'minus-Buzdar' demand

"We also have [support] from the Opposition members who will not vote during the no-confidence motion. We have the support of those Opposition members who are responsible," Rasheed said.

The interior minister also told the "turncoats" that if they were of the view that switching parties would help them gain more respect, they were wrong — "it isn't like that".

He also said that Chief Minister Usman Buzdar was not going anywhere. "And just like me, he will stand with PM Imran Khan to the end."

Rasheed said that he was not in touch with disgruntled PTI leader Jahangir Tareen — whose group has made it clear whether they will support the PM or not.

Read more: Asad Qaiser vows to run assembly proceeding as per Article 95

"Jahangir Tareen is a good man, may God bless him with good health," he said.

On March 27 jalsa, action against military maligners

Rasheed said PM Imran Khan would hold a "historic" jalsa in Islamabad on March 27, where the PTI aims to gather one million people to send a message that "we stand with the truth".

PM Imran Khan, in a video message today, invited the nation to join him on March 27 to reinstate the government's stance against the “dacoits” ruling Pakistan for the last 30 years.

Read more: PML-N's ‘Mehngai Mukao March’ set to start from March 26

The interior minister also said that he has instructed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to take prompt action against those maligning the military and the judiciary.

"Pakistan's army is great," the interior minister said, as he stressed the need for a stable military. "The establishment stands with Pakistan."

'No one will be allowed to take law into hands'

Talking about the PML-N's "long-march", the interior minister said that no one would be allowed to take the law into their hands.

"PML-N should provide us with their rally's schedule. They have not yet provided us with their schedule, so if any 'untoward incident' takes place, the interior ministry will not be responsible," he said.

Moreover, Rasheed said that he wanted to impose emergency and governor's rule in Sindh, but PM Imran Khan refused to implement both options.

The interior minister made the suggestion after several PTI lawmakers — who were residing in Sindh House — came out in the open, saying they would vote against PM Imran Khan in the no-trust motion.

Rasheed said he was hopeful that the allies would support the government when the National Assembly votes on the no-confidence motion against the premier.

"The allies are taking time to decide, which is a good thing, as they should make a decision after deliberations," he added.