ISLAMABAD: The Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed extended an invitation to the opposition parties to come back to parliamentary politics and sit with the government to focus on reforms before the next elections. 

“Come sit with us in the Parliament, you tired but could not send this government and Imran Khan packing. So now focus on reforms; sit with the government, let’s focus on electoral reforms, police reforms, and the local bodies,” said the federal minister. 

He also cautioned the opposition to use the remaining time before the next general election wisely, saying that for the government the rest of the one and a half year will be easy, times are only difficult for the opposition. 

While talking to the media at a press talk in the federal capital he also extended his well-wishes and prayers for the health and recovery of Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman and Maryam Nawaz’s health, as the two opposition leaders have postponed all political activities due to having some COVID-19 symptoms.  

Replying to a question by a journalist, Mr Rasheed Ahmed said that the government hs no credit to take in the fissures and the falling apart of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the 10-party opposition coalition that delt the government major jolts in the last few months. “They fell apart due to their own internal bickerings, they could not even decide who the opposition leader in the Senate would be, the alliance fell prey to tera-mera [trans. Yours-mine],” he commented. 

He further commented that the PDM repeatedly gave their word to boycott the system but consistently back-tracked on their public statements. “They said they would not contest the by-elections, then they contested the polls. They said they would not contest senate polls, then they did that as well,” the minister said. 

The interior minister refused to comment on the FIA probes into the sugar scandals and money laundering accusations on close aides of the ruling party when a journalist asked a question regarding the progress on the issues. “I am not looking into these matters, Shehzad Akbar is the one handling these issues,” he deflected. 

Talking about the performances and plans for his ministry he said that the passport expiry date has been extended to a minimum period of 10-years, which would facilitate a large number of [migrant worker] population. “We also intend to make NADRA and passport offices in every district, so more people have access to the documents they need,” he told the media. 

Furthermore, the ministry is changing officers in FIA and foreign embassies and has selected new civil servants to take over these positions, he informed. “These old-guard officers who have been posted for 18-20 years, and are corrupt need to be replaced. We will hopefully be doing this soon, we have selected the newer batch of officers to take charge soon. The picture of Quaid-e Azam in our offices is not to simply walk beneath that but to ponder and bring his ideas and principles to fruition,” he said. 

Ending the presser the minister said that he will implement lockdowns as the NCOC decides and his ministry is also focused on making a media-city that would provide benefits and access to all media houses to be located in close proximity to each other. “We intend to do all this hopefully. Imran Khan has said in all meetings, from party meetings to cabinet meetings that we need to perform and work now,” he concluded. 


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