Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid has clarified his earlier remarks about the government being blackmailed by some parties for Punjab chief ministership, thought to have been directed towards the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q). The minister said that he was referring to parties in ‘general’ and did not mean to target any specific party.
“I neither named the Q league nor the Chaudhrys […] I only said it in general,” Rashid said in Islamabad on Monday. “The problem is that when I say something […] even if it goes against me, it [gets airtime] the full 24 hours. [Chaudhry] Shujaat is my brother […] I will never speak against him.”
Rahid went on to further announce that National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser would call a session of the lower house on the opposition’s no-confidence motion after March 15, noting the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) conference on the 21st and 22nd of March.
On Saturday, Sheikh Rashid accused members of the PML-Q of ‘blackmailing’ the government for the Punjab chief minister position in return for the party’s continued support to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
The comments led to a brief spar with Federal Minister for Water Resources Moonis Elahi, a member of the PML-Q, who took to Twitter to respond to Rashid’s comments, saying that he respected the interior minister but pointed out that he used to take money from the PML-Q when he was a student.
The PML-Q has been vying for the Punjab chief minister position, reportedly pressing the prime minister to announce Chaudhry Parvez Elahi to replace Usman Buzdar before the National Assembly session to hold the no-confidence vote.