‘Lal Masjid raid was major reason for PML-Q defeat’
* Sheikh Rashid calls for immediate release of sacked chief justice
* Says he will form his own party
ISLAMABAD: Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, former railways minister, on Wednesday said the coming parliament would not stay for a long, as there existed little chances that President Musharraf and new assemblies could work together.
Addressing a news conference here, he said the government’s failure to handle Lal Masjid issue besides power and gas crises were the causes of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) crushing defeat in Monday’s elections.
Rashid, who suffered defeat in NA-55 and NA-56 constituencies of Rawalpindi, said: “I am considering to make my own political party but before taking a decision I will consult Chaudhrys.” He said he had no intention to quit politics. However, he added, he would quit politics at the peak of his political career. He said though President Musharraf was keen to work with the coming parliament, but some politicians did not want to let the system work for a long period.
Accepting the PML-Q defeat in the elections, he said the polls were held in a free, fair and transparent manner enabling the nation to bring a change.
“We are defeated due to our own deeds like ghee, atta, electricity and gas crises. The Lal Masjid issue is the most important reason behind our defeat,” he conceded.
Rashid said now its liability of the politicians not to plunge the country into further chaos and crises. “The nation has made right decision. Now the ball is in politicians’ court. They should form a government of national consensus,” he advised. He said the people reacted against the Lal Masjid operation and pro-United States policies in the poll. “Obviously, there is the issue of chief justice, but the real fact behind our defeat is the Lal Masjid operation,” he maintained.
Sacked chief justice: When asked, he agreed that the sacked chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry should be released immediately. Rashid, the all time winner in Rawalpindi in the past, said some politicians had played with the sentiments of the people by promising to reinstate the deposed chief justice and make Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan as president of the country.
He said Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had no interest in the constitutional amendment to undo the third-terms’ condition for becoming prime minister. “PPP has no interest in it. As far as Nawaz Sharif is concerned he will have to wait for the next parliament,” he told a questioner.