Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad
|Sheikh Rashid Ahmed|
November 6, 1950 |
|Political party||Awami Muslim League Pakistan (AML)|
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (Urdu: شيخ رشيد احمد, born November 6, 1950 in Rawalpindi) is a Pakistani politician and writer. He served as the Federal Minister for Railways in Pakistan from 2006 to 2008. His previous portfolio have included appointments as Federal Minister for Labor and Manpower, Information and Broadcasting, Industries, Sports Culture, and Tourism and Investment. He formed his own political party Awami Muslim League Pakistan in 2008.In Election 2013,he became the member of National Assembly.
Early life and education 
Rashid got his initial education from Christian High School, Rawalpindi. He studied at Government Polytechnic Institute, Rawalpindi and later at Gordon College. He completed his Bachelor of Laws at the University of Lahore. Throughout his education, Rashid was very active in student politics. On November 7, 1968 he organized movement against Ayub regime in which one student Hameed sacrificing his life became Shaheed. Rashid was among three students who were barred from getting admission in any educational institution.
Later he got admission in Gordon College, Rawalpindi and took active part in student politics. He emerged as a successful student leader and was elected in Student Union as Joint Secretary, Secretary, Vice President and President during four years respectively. He graduated from Gordon College and passed his M.A examination from Shahpur Jail. He completed his L.L.B from Lahore. He became Managing Director of Gulmerg Company, which was doing business in silk and silk yarn.
Political career 
His political career began on the village platform where he would try to garner support from the local population alongside other speakers. Sheikh Rashid and his contemporaries would often fail at this attempt and it has been said that they were not well liked in the villages for not understanding the basic problems.
Later, he became the leader of Opposition in the Municipal Corporation Rawalpindi. He was first elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1985 general elections as an independent candidate and joined Pakistan Muslim League a. He was subsequently re-elected MNA for six times. During October 2002 elections he was elected from two seats as an independent candidate but lost one seat where he tried to get his nephew re-elect in by elections. As an independent candidate he promised to the voters that after winning election he will leave both seats in the hands of Nawaz Sharif but later joined PML(Q) and became the supporter of General Pervez Musharraf. This was the reason his nephew lost by election. Although he has been elected MNAs six times but lost last two elections consecutively. The constituency is historically a stronghold of Pakistan Muslim League and in last by elections Nawaz Sharif issued parliamentary ticket to a poor unknown worker who defeated him with huge vote margin.
He used to be the right-hand man of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but Nawaz Sharif left him and then he joined the newly formed Muslim League, earning himself the nickname Lota of Rawalpindi (political chameleon of Rawalpindi). He is merely popular in Rawalpindi and is known for creating a large number of schools in that city. He is famous for his "awami style" (public style) of politics. He is one of few politicians who started their political career at grass roots level and rose to prominence. He has spent overall five years in solitary confinement for the cause of democracy. He was awarded seven years rigorous imprisonment in Kalashnikov case and spent two years in New Central Jail Bahawalpur.
On October 2, 2007 Gen. Pervez Musharraf named Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, as vice chief of the army starting October 8. 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.
In the February 2008 general elections, Sheikh Rashid lost both of his Rawalpindi constituencies, NA-55 and NA-56. After his defeat, there were rumors that Sheikh Rashid had fled to Spain, however, these allegations were later discovered to be false. In June 2008, he announced formation of new political party, Awami Muslim League.
During his career, He has served as Federal Minister for Labour and Manpower, Information, Industries, Sports, Culture, and Tourism and Investment. He was appointed Federal Minister for Railways in May 2006 and served in that capacity until 2008. His contemporary politics is as a staunch supporter of "enlightened moderation". On 14th 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 sweeped the 2013 elections in Punjab. Sheikh Rasheed however bagged 90,000 from Rawalpindi while his opponent could only bag around 22,000 votes. 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.
Armed attack 
On February 8, 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.
Links with 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 uprising in Jammu and Kashmir. 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 freedom fighters at his farm house near Fateh Jang road Rawalpindi. Kashmiri separatist Yasin Malik also confirms this use of farm house by militant organizations. He has a dream to visit Srinagar to offer prayers at the graves of his forefathers.
On June 13, 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.
On June 27 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.
He is the author of the book Farzand-e-Pakistan,which was the best seller and 13 editions have been published. Currently he is working on another book, Sub Achha Hai which is in the final stage of its publication.
Personal life 
He is known to have been organizing mass gatherings at his residence on the eve of 14th August (independence day of Pakistan), he is also a popular guest at various political talk-shows and entertainment programs.He also has a one brother in London called Ejaz Ahmed who is a journalist for a renowned newspaper and who has also contested elections on the provincial level. In a interview in 2012, Shiekh Rasheed had regarded his nephew Fahad as being a 'budding and inspirational' teenager who would be able to replicated 'electoral successes' in NA 55 such as his uncle in future.
See also 
- "Shiekh Rashid Ahmed Biography". Awami Muslim League website. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
- Mir, Amir (27 June 2005). "Did He Help Train 3,500 Militants?". Outlook India. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
- New York Times, Maneuvering Before Vote in Pakistan
- Sigamony, Terence J. PML-N’s win in Pindi surprises PPPP and PML-Q. "Daily Times", 2008-02-20. Retrieved on 2008-02-19.
- Hussain, Zahid and Ron Moreau. The End of Musharraf?. "Newsweek", 2008-02-19. Retrieved on 2008-02-19.
- Defeat due to Raid on Lal Masjid: Rasheed
- Election Commission results, Pakistan. Election results. "2013 election results", 2013-05-12. Retrieved on 2013-05-12.
- "Sheikh Rashid survives gun attack, three others killed". DAWN.com. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
- Did He Help Train 3,500 Militants?, Amir Mir, Pakistan, Jun 27 2005, outlookindia.com
- Pakistan's ex-minister detained in US airport used to train J&K jihadis, Amir Mir, Islamabad, June 29, 2012, rediff.com
- Awami Muslim League Pakistan Website Accessed 2010-1-20.
- Profile of the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Government website. Accessed 2005-10-21.
- Twitter account