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November 8, 2020

Politics of Maryam Nawaz, Nawaz Sharif leading them into a blind alley: Sheikh Rasheed

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November 8, 2020

KARACHI: The Federal Railways Minister, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, has said that the leaders of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Maryam Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif were taking their politics to a blind alley.

Speaking at a press conference here at his camp office on Saturday, the railways minister said that no politician should ever shut down the option of negotiations.

Sheikh Rasheed recalled the statement of Prime Minister Imran Khan that they were ready to hold talks with the Opposition on every issue except the NAB cases or any NRO-like deal with the Opposition politicians. He said that he had never seen a politician who believed in confrontation instead of holding talks. He said that confrontation led one to a blind alley with grave consequences. He said that a better outcome was always expected whenever the politicians sat together and take any decision collectively.

The Railways minister said that the narrative of the Pakistan Democratic Movement has lots of contradictions. He said that the Pakistan Peoples’ Party would not get along with the PML (N) from December 30, 2020 to February 20, 2021. He said that at least legislators of the PPP would not tender resignations. Referring to the recent interview of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to foreign media, he said that he had shown a responsible line of thinking. Bilawal had claimed that the PDM has decided not to ciriticise the army or its leadership.

Rashid said that all the political parties were actively taking part in the elections for Gilgit-Baltistan. “Now we have to see whether those losing the polls would concede defeat,” he said and added if the decision of the GB people was not accepted then it would cause political tensions there. Regarding the prime minister, the Railways minister said Imran Khan would complete his five-year term. Ruling out martial law, the minister said the international sentiment against the military regimes no longer supports them.

Hinting at complete privatization of the freight and passenger trains, the railways minister said that five freight trains of Pakistan Railways were given to the private sector while 12 more passenger trains would be privatized. He said all the freight trains would be privatized on the basis of their performance during one month. Regarding the revival of the Karachi Circular Railways, he claimed that the preparations were complete to make it operational while the overhead bridges, underpasses, and storm water drains would be built by the Sindh government. He expressed his desire for a smooth Karachi to Jalalabad freight corridor that would revolutionize the entire freight business of the country.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad warned the public against investing or cooperating with the builder of the Tijori Heights project built on the Pakistan Railway land and added that the unauthorized construction of the project has been stopped by the railways' authorities.

Regarding removal of encroachments from the KCR track, the railways minister said 14 km of the 30 km KCR loop line, from the City to Orangi stations has been cleared and made serviceable, whereas, the remaining can proceed only after construction of flyovers, underpasses by the Sindh government. He highlighted the desperate need of civil works by the provincial government in the Green Line Area in Nazimabad. Sh Rashid said that 15 out of 40 coaches for the KCR were fully rehabilitated and the remaining 25 would be made functional in the due course of time. He also indicated the floating of CPEC-based ML-1 project any time soon.