Amid the opposition’s meeting with members of the PTI-led ruling coalition, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on Monday underscored that "doors are never permanently shut in politics", signalling the possibility of disgruntled PTI lawmakers of returning to the fray ahead of the Opposition's proposed no-confidence move.
“We don’t have any issue with their meetings with coalition partners. I know a few PTI leaders who get displeased with me but I think the door should always be open in politics,” he said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad.
The multi-party opposition confab and the PPP are making efforts to woo government allies in order to gain their support for PM Imran's ouster. Claims by the opposition - as well as the government - suggest that dozens of disgruntled MNAs are waiting to jump ship, with each side claiming they have the votes to push through and/or thwart the no-confidence move against PM Imran.
Sheikh Rashid's comments come ahead of the meeting with the Jehangir Tareen group on Monday (today) to deliberate on the prevailing political situation. According to Aaj News, the huddle would review the talks with PTI’s disgruntled leaders. Jehangir Tareen would participate in the meeting from London.
In a related development, PTI leader Aleem Khan also met Tareen group leaders at Jehangir Tareen's residence. Aleem has met more than 40 lawmakers – including 10 provincial ones – in the past three days, sources said, adding that they have decided to have a joint political strategy.
Moreover, the PML-N’s senior leadership was also in talks with Aleem.
Rashid, who is known for his political prophecies, reiterated PM Imran’s words, which he said in Melsi gathering on Sunday, that the premier would be dangerous when the no-confidence motion fails in the National Assembly.
“This would be a confidence motion for Imran Khan,” he said.
He was of the view that the opposition was worried about the numbers to table the no-trust move and expressed hope that such a motion would fail.
“Does the technical government favours anyone,” he said on the opposition’s demand to oust the government. The minister wondered how the other side of the aisle in parliament would run the affairs amid the changing world state and rising inflation.
Rashid reiterated that the premier won’t sit idle if any uncertain situation occurs and forewarned the opposition of “the latter’s wrath.”
On the mass gathering of people in PPP’s rally in Lahore, he said that it suits the government that votes were distributed and supported such a development.
The minister also alleged that there were reports that foreign forces were trying to create instability in Pakistan. He lauded the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police for identifying a big network of terrorists in the wake of the Peshawar blast, which claimed 62 lives and left hundreds injured.
He added there would be a local holiday on March 22, 23, 24 in Islamabad in view of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Council of Foreign Ministers session and Pakistan Day parade.
“There are security threats and it’s our duty to be responsible and provide security,” he said.
To a query, he said the government believes in the Taliban assurance that the Afghanistan's soil won’t be used to launch cross-border attacks against Pakistan.