Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Thursday told members of the ruling PTI that “switching parties won’t do them any good”, saying that “turncoats must keep in mind that early elections can also be called in the country”.
He made these remarks during a press conference in Islamabad during which he talked about the upcoming no-trust vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“Those who are changing parties and thinking they will get respect, they are wrong,” the minister said.
He claimed the country would get “good news” from this point onwards.
He said allies generally took more time in taking decisions. “Those who are [genuine] remain intact with democracy and their party,” he added.
Rashid advised political leaders in the opposition camp to stick to their decision as “it is their moral, constitutional and Islamic responsibility”.
“Let me tell you with responsibility that nobody is going anywhere,” the minister emphasised, saying he met Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar who was firmly standing with Imran Khan.
“He is also not going anywhere,” Rashid said regarding Buzdar.
The removal of the incumbent Punjab chief minister from office is one of the key demands of the group of estranged PTI lawmakers led by Jahangir Tareen.
A close friend of PM Imran, Aleem Khan, had also announced that he was joining the Tareen group. He had assailed the Imran Khan government in the Centre and the Usman Buzdar-led Punjab government for “completely failing to fulfil its mandate and bring about the promised change”.
During his presser today, the interior minister claimed that some opposition members would also not go to parliament on the day of the no-trust vote. Terming those members “responsible”, he said they understood that it would be “better” if PM Imran completed his tenure and early elections were called.
“The opposition has to rethink the situation in view of the global scenario,” he added.
In response to a question, the interior minister stressed that “no one is going to be sacked or removed or [leaving]. All three will continue with Imran Khan,” adding that he had instructed Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Dr Sanaullah Abbasi to “destroy those [damaging] the army’s respect” on social media.
It was unclear whose sacking the minister was referring to.
Talking about parliamentary proceedings, Rashid said it was up to the NA speaker to decide when the voting on the no-trust motion takes place.
The opposition had made a “huge mistake” by turning PM Imran into a “hero” in the final year of his tenure. “We were fighting inflation and unemployment; now people have forgotten that and are standing with Imran Khan.”
He said the opposition was now playing into the hands of the premier.
“Nothing is final in politics. [The no-trust matter] will be decided in 10 days and good news will come,” he added.