Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad

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Sheikh Rashid Ahmed
MP
Minister of Locomotives and Railways
In office
1 May 2006 – 15 November 2007
President Pervez Musharraf
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz
Preceded by Saleemur Rahman Akhoond
Succeeded by Ghulam Ahmad Bilour
Minister of Information and Mass-media Broadcasting
In office
21 November 2002 – 20 May 2006
President Pervez Musharraf
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz
Preceded by Major-General Rashid Qureshi, ISPR
Succeeded by Muhammad Ali Durrani
Personal details
Born Sheikh Rashid Ahmed
(1950-11-06) 6 November 1950 (age 63)
Rawalpindi, Punjab Province, Pakistan
Citizenship Pakistani
Nationality Pakistan
Political party Awami Muslim League Pakistan (AML)
Other political
affiliations
Pakistan Muslim League (Q)
Alma mater Punjab University
LLB and MA
Cabinet Shaukat Aziz Cabinet
Religion Islam

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (Urdu: شيخ رشيداحمد‎, b. 6 November 1950), is a Pakistani public figure, a veteran politician, television personality and a writer of Kashmiri origin. Starting politics in 70's it wasn't till 1985 when he became a national politician, since then he has been elected to the national assembly 8 times (1985, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2013). During his political career spanning over 2 decades, He has served as federal minister for labour and manpower, federal minister for information and broadcasting; federal minister for industries, federal minister for sports & culture; federal minister for tourism and federal minister for railways.[1][2]

Initially a right-hand man of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Rashid after twice serving as federal minister in Sharif cabinet resigned from the Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League and joined the newly formed military backed Pakistan Muslim League (Q) after the 2002 elections and managed two ministerial portfolios during its 5-year rule (2002–2007). He lost his first election in 2008 to Javed Hashmi and later by-election to Malik Shakeel Awan. He found his own party named Awami Muslim League Pakistan, after the 2008 election defeat, and managed to win his traditional seat from Rawalpindi in 2013 while allied with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.[3]

Rashid came in public prominence due to his 'blunt' style of politics, he remains a popular host in current affairs shows. He remains a popular politician in his hometown of Rawalpindi from where he has won all his elections. He by his supporters is called as Farzand-e-Rawalpindi (Son of Rawalpindi),[4]

Biography[edit]

Early life, education and business[edit]

After graduating from Christian High School, Ahmed studied at the Government Polytechnic Institute and took a college transfer to Gordon College to study law.[5] After spending a semester there, Ahmed went to attend the Punjab University where he completed his LLB degree in 1973.[5] After graduation, he worked on a business commodity ventures throughout the 1970s, and was active in politics from a PML platform which was competing against PPP at that time.[5] Prior to that, he became managing director of Gulmerg Mills, which was doing business in silk and silk yarn.[5] In 1979, he applied at the post-graduate school of the Punjab University to study Political science.[5] In 1982, he subsequently obtained his MA[6] degree in Political Science after submitting his dissertation on political science to Punjab University.[6]

Public service and political activism[edit]

His political activism began in 1980s after becoming an opposing leader in the Municipal Corporation Rawalpindi. On a PML platform, he successfully contested in general elections held in 1985, becoming member of the National Assembly. He remained close to a conservative portal, first becoming member of IDA led by various conservative thinkers in the country. On IDA platform, he participated in 1988 general elections and 1990 general elections; he secured two consecutive victories on both general elections. In 1993, he again defended his seat in Rawalpindi on a PLM(N) platform in general elections held in 1993.

Although he was closer to PML(N) but drifted away from the party regarding the issue of Kashmir. He fell with Prime Minister Navaz Sharif in 1999, and subsequently affiliated with splinter group within the PLM(N). In 2002, he successfully ran from Rawalpindi constituency in general elections as an independent candidate but joined the splinter group opposing the PLM(N).[7] In 2002, he joined the cabinet of Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali on 24 November 2002.[8]

Mass-media and railway ministries[edit]

Since 2001, he had been prominent in the military science circle over many military policy issues.[9][10] Rasheed Ahmed was among Musharraf's few close advisers who stood by the former president during his campaign of military operations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan.[11] After taking oath in 2002, he was named as minister of Ministry of Information and Mas-smedia Broadcasting (MoIB).[8] In a meeting with President Pervez Musharraf, he discussed with the lines on the media policy of the new government and took certain instructions.[10] President Musharraf in his meeting with the new information minister had asked him to take solid steps for making sure that the national press started supporting the new democratic set-up.[10] Ultimately, President Musharraf also directed him to keep defending the policies that the military government had undertaken in its three-year rule.[10] On public places, Ahmed had assumed the role of the military president’s spokesman as well as an advocate of the government.[10] In 2006, on a personal request of Musharraf, Ahmed was made minister of Ministry of Railways.[12]

On 2 October 2007 Gen. Pervez Musharraf named Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, as vice chief of the army starting 8 October. If Musharraf wins the presidency and resigns his military post, Kayani will be army chief. Meanwhile, Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed stated that officials agreed to grant Benazir Bhutto amnesty versus pending corruption charges.[13]

2008 general elections[edit]

In the February 2008 general elections, Sheikh Rashid lost both of his Rawalpindi constituencies, NA-55 and NA-56.[14] After his defeat, there were rumours that Sheikh Rashid had fled to Spain,[15] however, these allegations were later discovered to be false.[16] In June 2008, he announced formation of new political party, Awami Muslim League.

2010 armed attack[edit]

On 8 February 2010, Sheikh Rashid was injured, and three other people known to be his bodyguards were killed, when gunmen opened fire at his vehicle outside his party's election office in Rawalpindii.[17]

2013 general elections[edit]

On 14 August 2012 Sheikh Rasheed and Imran Khan decided to take part in elections by seat adjustment with each other.

Following a seat adjustment with Imran Khan in Rawalpindi, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad snatched his traditional NA-55 seat from the hands of the PML-N. As a result he was elected to the National Assembly for a record 8th time. It should be noted that Rawalpindi is seen as the hub of the PML-N party who swept the 2013 elections in Punjab. Sheikh Rasheed however bagged 90,000 from Rawalpindi while his opponent could only bag around 22,000 votes.[18]

This proved the strength of Sheikh Rasheed in his home town and the trust of the people of Rawalpindi on him. Sheikh Rasheed remarked that the people of Rawalpindi had revindicated him after failing to elect him in the 2008 elections. Sheikh Rasheed promised to continue the development works in the area he had left behind before 2008.

Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad created a three-member group in the NA; claiming it the real opposition group in the Pakistan's house.

Controversies[edit]

Links with Kashmir[edit]

Main article: Terrorism in Kashmir

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has his roots in Srinagar – capital of the Indian administered Kashmir, through his father and is known for his support to the anti-India insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir.[5] He shot into prominence when Indian Government denied him permission to visit New Delhi in 2004 fall,and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee refused to come to Pakistan if Sheikh Rasheed is in the reception team. He admits that he provided shelter and arranged for bread and butter for Kashmiri militants at his farm house near Fateh Jang road Rawalpindi. Kashmiri separatist Yasin Malik also confirms this use of farm house by militant organisations. He has a dream to visit Srinagar to offer prayers at the graves of his forefathers.

On 13 June 2005 the chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik, stated that Rashid Ahmed had trained about 3,500 Kashmiri jehadis, including Yasin himself at Freedom House. Subsequently he was not allowed by Gov. of India to visit Kashmir.[19]

On 27 June 2012, Rashid Ahmed was detained at Houston airport regarding links with Lashkar-e-Taiba and with Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, an alleged mastermind of 2008 Mumbai attacks. He was released after official protest from Pakistani Ambassador in USA.[20]

He was again off-loaded from a Canada bound flight in 2014.[21]

Frisking by American security authorities[edit]

Ahmed was frisked at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, United States, while boarding on a plane in 2012.[22] At the Houston airport, Rashid was detained for more than five hours over his alleged links with Pakistan-based LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, who is suspected to have masterminded the 2008 attacks in Mumbai.[23] After an intense involvement of Pakistan Ambassador, Sherry Rehman, Rashid was released from the detention after US authorities clearing him to board on a plane.[22]

Writings and philosophy[edit]

Ahmed is an author of two political books Farzand-e-Pakistan (lit. Son of Pakistan), which was the best seller and 13 editions have been published.[5] Currently he is authoring on another political book, Sub Achha Hai (lit. Everything alright) which is in the final stage of its publication.[5] His political philosophy reflected the thoughts on libertarianism and has extensively written on the"enlightened moderation."[24]

Personal life[edit]

Television personality[edit]

He is unmarried and currently resides on popular Lal Haveli in the heart of Rawalpindi.[25]

Rashid Ahmed is known to have been organising mass gatherings at his residence on the eve of 14 August (independence day of Pakistan) where television personalities, actors, and film industry personalities are said to be perform there.[25] Since 2001, Rashid enjoys a strong media popularity and has been a popular guest at various political talk-shows and entertainment programs.[25] In public circles, he is known for his quips and political predictions.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sheikh rasheed ahmed
  2. ^ PTI agrees to electoral alliance with AML
  3. ^ Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed's Profile
  4. ^ Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Shiekh Rashid Ahmed Biography". Awami Muslim League website. Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  6. ^ a b et al. "Sh. Rashid Ahmad". The Directorate of Press release of the Election Commission of Pakistan. Election Commission of Pakistan. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Ahmed Hassan & Faraz Hashmi (23 November 2002). "Jamali discusses cabinet with Musharraf: Some ministers may be retained". Dawn news, area studies: 23 November 2002. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Ihtasham ul Haque (24 November 2002). "Jamali, cabinet take oath: PPP, PML-N abstain from ceremony". Dawn news, area studies, 24 Nov 2002. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Dr Qaisar Rashid (22 May 2013). "Sheikh Rashid, TV talk shows and the PTI". Daily TImes,. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d e Our Staff Reporter (25 November 2002). "Rashid asked to defend military govt policies". Dawn news, area studies: 25 Nov 2002. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Dawn Election Monitoring Cell (d). "Overview of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed". Dawn profile. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Staff (1 May 2006). "Rashid accorded 'clean' welcome". Dawn news, area studies;. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  13. ^ New York Times, Maneuvering Before Vote in Pakistan
  14. ^ Sigamony, Terence J. PML-N’s win in Pindi surprises PPPP and PML-Q. "Daily Times", 20 February 2008. Retrieved on 2008-02-19.
  15. ^ Hussain, Zahid and Ron Moreau. The End of Musharraf?. "Newsweek", 19 February 2008. Retrieved on 2008-02-19.
  16. ^ Defeat due to Raid on Lal Masjid: Rasheed
  17. ^ "Sheikh Rashid survives gun attack, three others killed". DAWN.com. Retrieved 9 February 2010. 
  18. ^ Election Commission results, Pakistan. Election results. "2013 election results", 12 May 2013. Retrieved on 2013-05-12.
  19. ^ Did He Help Train 3,500 Militants?, Amir Mir, Pakistan, 27 June 2005, outlookindia.com
  20. ^ Pakistan's ex-minister detained in US airport used to train J&K jihadis, Amir Mir, Islamabad, 29 June 2012, rediff.com
  21. ^ Sheikh Rasheed offloaded
  22. ^ a b Imtiaz, Huma (28 June 2012). "Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed briefly detained at Houston airport". Express Tribune. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  23. ^ Staff (28 June 2012). "Ex-Pakistan minister detained at Houston airport". Daiji. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  24. ^ Khan, Ijaz (2007). Pakistan's strategic culture and foreign policy making : a study of Pakistan's post 9/11 Afghan policy change. New York: Nova Science Publishers. p. 139. ISBN 1600218334. 
  25. ^ a b c Pakistan Herald. "Pakistan Herald Profile". Pakistan Herald. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 

External links[edit]