PPP all set to give a befitting reply to Sheikh Rasheed


–Provincial parliamentary secretary says party will use all resources to initiate criminal action against Rasheed

LAHORE: The provincial leadership and jiyalas of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are all set to initiate criminal action against Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad for allegedly hurling death threats at party chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Pakistan Today has learnt.

Punjab Parliamentary Secretary Hassan Murtaza told Pakistan Today that the party leadership has decided to use all resources available to initiate criminal action against Rasheed.

“We are in the opposition and the state institutions are not supporting us but despite all odds, we will make sure that Rasheed faces the heat for his comments because our leaders have been assassinated in the past and we do not take death threats lightly,” he said.

Speaking to Pakistan Today, ex-member PPP central Punjab provincial council Khalid Butt said that this is not the first time Rasheed had uttered such “vile” comments. “With his recent comments, Rasheed has proven that he is not a politician but an extremist,” he said.

“Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) should also take notice of this because this behaviour does not suit a politician. Rasheed has a history of switching loyalties and soon there will come a time when he will use the same language for PTI leaders,” he added.

PTI MPA Firdous Rahna told Pakistan Today that politicians should behave in a civilized manner and should refrain from issuing such comments. She said that while her party does not endorse such comments, they were given by Rasheed in his personal capacity, therefore, he is in a better position to respond.

Earlier in the day, an application was moved by Gilgit Baltistan’s (GB) former food minister and PPP leader Muhammad Jaffar for lodging a First Information Report (FIR) against the railways minister. Meanwhile, another PPP leader, Chaudhry Manzoor, while addressing a press conference in the provincial capital, said that party workers and leaders were ready to hold a demonstration to express solidarity with the party chief on Wednesday. Manzoor said that while Rasheed’s earlier criticism of Bilawal was ignored by the party leadership, they can no longer ignore death threats as many innocent party leaders had been martyred in the past.

During his visit to Cantt station on Saturday, Rasheed had said that he had forgiven Bilawal once, but it would be better for him if he “played the game [in political arena] wisely or else he may get killed in politics”.

Responding to Rasheed’s comments, Bilawal’s sister Bakhtawar Bhutto said that the federal government should sack the minister for his statement threatening remarks against the PPP chairman. She accused the federal minister of ‘hurling death threats at Bilawal’.

She tweeted, “From spewing hate speech, Fed ministers now hurling direct death threats at @BBhuttoZardari. Having extremist right-wingers threaten a Bhutto is nothing new but 4 a cabinet member 2 give an OPEN DEATH THREAT to someone whose entire family were killed is disgusting. #sackthisbigot”