Elections should be held immediately after Haj: Sheikh Rashid

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said on Tuesday that he wants “fair and transparent” elections to be called immediately after Haj 2022 and has advised Prime Minister Imran Khan to present a good federal budget for the fiscal year 2022-23.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, he expressed three of his wishes — National Assembly members to vote in favour of the premier, the construction of Nala Lai, and elections before Haj.

“I am pro early elections,” Rashid stressed. “The prime minister should present a good budget because oil and wheat prices are high across the globe, there’s IMF, FATF and so many other problems … Imran Khan should give a good budget and hold elections immediately after Haj.”

The minister reiterated that the prime minister will “play till the last ball. I am standing with him.”

He said that international conspiracies were behind the attempt to oust Imran Khan. “They will fail miserably,” he asserted, adding that he was waiting for Supreme Court’s decision on the presidential reference on Article 63-A.

Talking about the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Khan, Rashid revealed that voting on the resolution, which was tabled in the National Assembly (NA) on Monday, would take place on April 3.

The debate on the resolution is set to begin on March 31.

On Tuesday, the minister said he hoped the opposition wouldn’t be able to complete 172 members on the day of voting.

“Winning and losing is a part of politics but one thing which has been proven is that the public is with Imran Khan.

“Some people lose despite winning in politics,” he added.

Rashid lauded PML-Q’s decision to stand with the government and said that an official notification confirming the resignation of CM Punjab Usman Buzdar would be issued after Imran Khan accepts it.

Responding to a question, he hoped the MQM would follow in the footsteps of PML-Q. “MQM’s decision holds a lot of weight.”

The minister revealed that the Islamabad police foiled an attack in the capital and arrested four “terrorists”. They have been identified as Muhammad Ismail, Muhammad Ismail, Zafran, and Muhammad Shehzad. One of the suspects, Raees, managed to flee, he said.

“These terrorists had impure intentions but Allah helped us,” he said, adding that he was optimistic everything on April 3, too, would go smoothly.

Rashid said that the four terrorists involved in the Kocha Risaldar blast — a suicide attack inside a Shia mosque in Peshawar that killed over 60 people — had been killed in an operation as well.

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