PML-Q, MQM-P not leaving ruling alliance: Sheikh Rashid

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Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said on Saturday he was surprised at statements of the Chaudhry brothers but was confident that they were not leaving the ruling coalition.

Addressing a press conference at Railways headquarters here, he claimed that Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), disgruntled allies of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), would not go anywhere.

However, he added, he could not say anything about anyone else. He said Chaudhry brothers [Ch Shujaat Hussain and Ch Pervaiz Elahi] were like his brothers and he respected them a lot. He said he would hold a meeting with the Chaudhrys soon. The minister said that now only inflation, and gas and electricity bills are opponents of the government and the opposition parties, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are no more there to oppose it. “I have conveyed this to Prime Minister [Imran Khan] that inflation is our only opposition now and we will eradicate that under his leadership,” he added.

Sh Rashid claimed that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif would not return to the country and Maryam Nawaz would not go abroad. However, he added, Shahbaz Sharif could come back.

The Railways minister said he was going to Karachi to meet Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and resolve the issue of Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) project. He said the department was acting on the orders of the Supreme Court (SC) to complete the KCR project at the earliest.

Sh Rashid said the Supreme Court had directed the railways to revive the KCR in 15 days, which he said was very difficult to implement without the help of the Sindh government. He said six-and-a-half-kilometre long portion of the track was yet to be cleared of encroachments which was a very difficult area. The minister said he was ready to give more land for the purpose and hoped that the issue would be resolve by Monday.

About India-occupied Kashmir, he said no power in this world could end the freedom moment of Kashmiris. He announced holding a rally outside his Lal Haveli to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir on Feb 5. He said Kashmir dispute was very much alive and would remain alive until and unless martyrs’ graves were present in Kashmir and the last Kashmiri was alive. The Railways minister said the department was going to punish those responsible for the Tezgam inferno that left over 70 people dead.

About the railways projects, Sh Rashid said a shuttle service between Gujranwala and Lahore would be operational from Feb 15.