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Awami Muslim League (AML) president and former minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, has re-emerged after a period of seclusion following his reported arrest in Islamabad on September 17. In an exclusive interview with a private television channel, Rashid revealed that his absence was due to a 40-day preaching mission (tableegh). This revelation marks a fascinating twist in the narrative surrounding his disappearance.

During the interview, Rashid expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to dedicate 40 days to preaching, emphasizing that he faced no harm during this time, and he was met with cooperation from all quarters, making his mission a smooth one.

Addressing his political affiliation, Rashid underlined his commitment to the AML, which he acknowledged as one of the smallest political parties in the country. He asserted that he had no intention of disbanding the AML or aligning with any other political group.

Furthermore, Rashid offered glowing praise for the Pakistan Army, hailing it as the world’s greatest military force. He reaffirmed his long-standing pro-military stance, proudly identifying himself as a spokesperson for the Pakistan Army. He also stressed the importance of collaboration between politicians and institutions, signaling his belief in the necessity of working together for the betterment of the country.

Commenting on the ongoing political landscape, Rashid revealed that he had consistently advised former Prime Minister and PTI Chairman, Imran Khan, against getting into conflicts with the military. He specifically noted that criticizing army chief Gen Asim Munir was a grave mistake. Rashid further pointed out that all three individuals who had previously engaged with the military on behalf of the PTI chairman have now distanced themselves from their respective political parties. While he admitted to trying to contribute to these efforts, he described Imran Khan as a “stubborn politician.”

Regarding the cipher issue, the former interior minister disclosed his involvement in the National Security Committee (NSC) meetings related to cipher discussions. He asserted that he was a witness to all the deliberations on this matter.

Reflecting on the critical moment of the no-confidence motion against then-Prime Minister Imran Khan in the National Assembly, Rashid shared that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, a former PTI ally, had engaged with him. It was during this time that he recognized that the PTI government was on the verge of collapse.

Discussing the civil unrest in the country that followed the arrest of PTI chairman on May 9 of the current year, Rashid explained that he was overseas at the time. However, on May 10, the day following the arrest, he condemned the violence, though he noted that his condemnation did not receive substantial media attention.

In the backdrop of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s reappearance and the insights he shared during the interview, the political landscape in Pakistan promises to remain dynamic and ever-evolving. His observations on the military’s role and the dynamics within political circles serve as a captivating glimpse into the complex world of Pakistani politics.

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