Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad (Urdu: شیخ رشید احمد; born 6 November 1950) is a Pakistani politician who served as the 38th Interior Minister of Pakistan in Imran Khan government from 2020 to 2022. He is the founder and leader of Awami Muslim League, and also maintains close relations with the political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed Aqeel Khan
شیخ رشیداحمد
Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed in 2018
38th, 37th Minister of Interior
In office
11 December 2020 – 10 April 2022
PresidentArif Alvi
Prime MinisterImran Khan
Preceded byIjaz Shah
Succeeded byRana Sanaullah Khan
Minister of Railways
In office
18 August 2018 – 11 December 2020
PresidentMamnoon Hussain
Arif Alvi
Prime MinisterImran Khan
Preceded byRoshan Khursheed Bharucha (caretaker)
Succeeded byAzam Khan Swati
In office
25 April 2006[1] – 15 November 2007
PresidentPervez Musharraf
Prime MinisterShaukat Aziz
Preceded bySaleemur Rahman Akhoond
Succeeded byGhulam Ahmed Bilour
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting
In office
2 September 2004 – 25 April 2006
PresidentPervez Musharraf
Prime MinisterShaukat Aziz
Succeeded byMuhammad Ali Durrani[1]
In office
30 June 2004 – 25 August 2004
PresidentPervez Musharraf
Prime MinisterShujat Hussain
In office
21 November 2002 – 26 June 2004
PresidentPervez Musharraf
Prime MinisterMir Zafarullah Khan Jamali
Federal Minister for Labour and Manpower
In office
11 July 1997 – 12 October 1999
PresidentFarooq Leghari
Wasim Sajjad
Muhammad Rafiq Tarar
Prime MinisterNawaz Sharif
Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis
In office
11 July 1997 – 12 October 1999
PresidentFarooq Leghari
Wasim Sajjad
Muhammad Rafiq Tarar
Prime MinisterNawaz Sharif
Federal Minister for Youth Affairs
In office
11 July 1997 – 6 August 1998
PresidentFarooq Leghari
Wasim Sajjad
Muhammad Rafiq Tarar
Prime MinisterNawaz Sharif
Federal Minister for Tourism
In office
11 July 1997 – 6 August 1998
PresidentFarooq Leghari
Wasim Sajjad
Muhammad Rafiq Tarar
Prime MinisterNawaz Sharif
President Awami Muslim League
Assumed office
June 2008
Federal Minister for Culture
In office
11 July 1997 – 6 August 1998
PresidentFarooq Leghari
Wasim Sajjad
Muhammad Rafiq Tarar
Prime MinisterNawaz Sharif
In office
10 September 1991 – 18 July 1993
PresidentGhulam Ishaq Khan
Prime MinisterNawaz Sharif
Federal Minister for Industries
In office
10 September 1991 – 18 July 1993
PresidentGhulam Ishaq Khan
Prime MinisterNawaz Sharif
Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan
In office
13 August 2018 – 17 January 2023
ConstituencyNA-62 (Rawalpindi-VI)
In office
1 June 2013 – 31 May 2018
ConstituencyNA-55 (Rawalpindi-VI)
In office
16 November 2002 – 15 November 2007
ConstituencyNA-55 (Rawalpindi-VI)
Personal details
Born (1950-11-06) 6 November 1950 (age 73)
Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan[2]
Political partyAwami Muslim League (present 2008)
Other political
affiliations
Pakistan Muslim League (Q) (till 2008)
Pakistan Muslim League (N) (till 2002)
Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (before 1993)
RelativesSheikh Rashid Shafique (nephew)[3]
Alma materGovernment Gordon College
University of Punjab
ProfessionPolitician

Early life and education

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Ahmad was born on November 6, 1950, into a Kashmiri family[4] in Babra Bazaar in Rawalpindi, Punjab.[5][6][2]

He received his early education from Polytechnic College and graduated from Government Gordon College. Ahmad was a leader of the student union at Gordon College.[7] He completed his Bachelor of Laws at the University of Punjab in 1973.[6][2] He later earned his Master's in political science from the same university in 1982.[8]

Political career

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Ahmad began his political career during his student years and was actively involved against the military regime of Ayub Khan.[2]

He was elected to the National Assembly eight times. In the 1985 Pakistani general election, which was held on non-party basis, he was elected as a member of the National Assembly for the first time[9] from Rawalpindi.[2] Rasheed was re-elected to the National Assembly for the second time in the 1988 Pakistani general election, this time campaigning on the Islamic Democratic Alliance ticket.[2] In 1990, he campaigned again on the IDA ticket and was re-elected a third time to the National Assembly, later becoming the Minister of Sports. Under his tenure, Pakistan won the Cricket World Cup in 1992 under the captaincy of Imran Khan. In the 1993 election, he was re-elected, this time on the Pakistan Muslim League (N) ticket. Rasheed was re-elected in 1997, and in 2002 the PML-N refused to allot a ticket to him. He decided to run as an independent,[10] and secured a sixth re-election.

Later, Rasheed joined PML-Q,[11][12] and because he was a close friend of then-president Pervez Musharraf, he was appointed as Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting in the Zafarullah Khan Jamali cabinet in November 2002.[11][12][13][2][14] As minister for information, Ahmed, on public places, had assumed the role of the spokesman of Musharraf[15] and an advocate of the government of Jamali.[16]

In May 2006, he was made Federal Minister for Railways.[11][2][17][18] In the 2008 Pakistani general election, Ahmad ran for the seat of National Assembly on a Pakistan Muslim League-Q ticket, losing the election for the first time[10][9][19] from both the Rawalpindi constituencies he contested, NA-55 and NA-56, to PML-N.[15][20][2] He won the election from NA-56 for multiple times.[21] There were rumours that Ahmad had fled to Spain following the defeat.[9] However, these allegations were later found to be false.[19] In an interview, Ahmad said his defeat in the election was due to a raid on Lal Masjid and that "he had promised to quit politics after the 2008 elections but his defeat had changed his mind."[19]

He later left PML-Q where he was a senior vice-president and created his own political party Awami Muslim League (AML)[11] and appointed himself as president of the party.[2][22]

In February 2010, when Ahmad was in the run for the National Assembly seat during a by-election in NA-55, Rawalpindi, he lost the election to Malik Shakeel Awan by an enormous margin. Ahmad earlier supported Musharraf's military operation against the militants in Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the Siege of Lal Masjid[2][13] and has been on the hit list of militants.[11] He was left devastated by this embarrassing loss and was spotted smoking his cigar alone at times.[23]

In the 2013 Pakistani general election, Ahmad made an electoral alliance with Imran Khan to support each other in their respective constituencies in the election.[24][25][2] It was reported that Ahmad has requested for a merger between his party and Imran Khan's PTI,[26] however, the PTI decided not to go for an alliance with any political party.[27] He was re-elected as a member of the National Assembly for the seventh time from Rawalpindi.[24] In public circles, he is known for making witty remarks and political predictions. He is also known for switching political allegiances from one party to another.[2] In July 2017, he was chosen by the PTI as a candidate for the post of prime minister, following the resignation of outgoing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after the Panama Papers case decision.[28] He secured 33 votes in the 342-seat parliament and was unsuccessful.[29] He was re-elected to the National Assembly as a candidate of AML from NA-62 (Rawalpindi-VI) constituency in the 2018 Pakistani general election.[30]

On 18 August 2018, Imran Khan formally announced his federal cabinet structure, and Ahmad was named as Minister for Railways.[31] On 20 August 2018, he was sworn in as Federal Minister for Railways in the cabinet of Prime Minister Imran Khan.[32] In 2019, as the railway minister, Rasheed severed rail transport links between India and Pakistan due to the revocation of special status for Kashmir.[33]

In December 2020, in a cabinet reshuffle, he was given the portfolio of the minister for the interior.[34]

On 10 April 2022, Ahmad was removed from his ministry after former Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted after losing a no-confidence vote.

Controversies

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In 2004, during his tenure as Minister for Information, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad was replaced with Shaukat Aziz as minister-in-waiting who would receive then visiting Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee after the Indian foreign ministry's objection to the nomination of Ahmad as the minister-in-waiting.[35]

In 2005, India Today reported that Yasin Malik claimed that Ahmad had run a jihadi camp at Fateh Jung in Punjab, where around 3,500 jihadis were trained. Ahmad denied running such a camp.[36] Later it was reported that Yasin Malik retracted his statements and denied he had ever said that Ahmad had run such a camp.[37][38]

In 2005, during Ahmad's tenure as Minister for Information, he applied for a permit to travel to Srinagar, in his personal capacity to visit the graves of his grandparents and meet his relatives in Jammu & Kashmir.[39] However India denied Ahmed's request to travel to Srinagar.[37]

In 2012, Ahmad was detained at Houston airport over suspected links with Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, an alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. He was released after five hours of questioning after official protest by the Pakistani Ambassador to the United States.[40][41]

In 2014, Ahmad was off-loaded from a Toronto-bound PIA flight due to non-issuance of clearance by the Canadian authorities.[42]

In 2018, Ahmad was accused by Malik Shakeel Awan of concealing and failing to mention in his electoral papers possession of 100 kanal (12.5 acres) of land. Ahmad won the legal case regarding the allegation, and later confessed that he had forgotten to mention the land in his electoral papers. The decision was considered extremely biased in favour Ahmad and had remained disputed.[43]

Books

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  • Farzand-e-Pakistan [Son of Pakistan], 1995, 200 p. His first book, it was a best-seller, having gone through at least 13 editions.[44]
  • Lal Haveli Sey Akwaam-e-Mutthahida Tak [From Lal Haveli to the United Nations], 2020, 352 p.[45]

References

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  1. ^ a b "Key portfolios changed in shake-up: Durrani replaces Rashid as information minister". Dawn (newspaper). 26 April 2006. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad - Profile - DAWN.COM". Dawn. 14 August 2014. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Sheikh Rasheed 's nephew gets PTI ticket to contest NA-60 by-election". arynews.tv. 28 August 2018. Retrieved 20 July 2023.
  4. ^ Viswam, Deepa (2010). Role of Media in Kashmir Crisis. Kalpaz Publications. p. 153.
  5. ^ "Detail Information". 11 October 2007. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ a b "Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed profile". Business Recorder. 10 March 2016. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  7. ^ "Educational institutions no longer centre of cultural activities". DAWN.COM. 8 February 2015. Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  8. ^ Tariq, Aamir (13 February 2023). "Profile: Sheikh Rashid Ahmed". Daily Pakistan. He later got his master's degree in political science in 1982 from the Punjab University.
  9. ^ a b c "The End of Musharraf?". Newsweek. 18 February 2008. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  10. ^ a b "As Pakistan goes to polls: Take a peek at some major NA constituencies". DAWN.COM. 10 May 2013. Archived from the original on 5 March 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Sheikh Rashid survives gun attack, three others killed". Dawn. 9 February 2010. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Jamali discusses cabinet with Musharraf: Some ministers may be retained". DAWN.COM. 23 November 2002. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  13. ^ a b Masood, Salman (8 February 2010). "Former Pakistani Official Attacked in Rawalpindi". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  14. ^ "Jamali, cabinet take oath: PPP, PML-N abstain from ceremony". DAWN.COM. 24 November 2002. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Heavyweights knocked out". DAWN.COM. 19 February 2008. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Rashid asked to defend military govt policies". DAWN.COM. 25 November 2002. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Rashid accorded 'clean' welcome". DAWN.COM. 1 May 2006. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  18. ^ Masood, Salman (2 October 2007). "Maneuvering Before Vote in Pakistan". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  19. ^ a b c "Defeat due to raid on Lal Masjid: Rashid". The Nation. 29 February 2008. Archived from the original on 29 February 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  20. ^ "PML-N's win in Pindi surprises PPPP and PML-Q". Daily Times. 20 February 2008. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  21. ^ SHABBIR, SAIMA (7 February 2024). "Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed". Arab News PK. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  22. ^ "Sheikh Rashid quits PML-Q, forms Awami Muslim League: Withdrawal from election race". DAWN.COM. 2 June 2008. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  23. ^ "PUNJAB: The sheikh's domain". DAWN.COM. 11 May 2013. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  24. ^ a b "A FEW WORDS : Sheikh Rashid, TV talk shows and the PTI – Dr Qaisar Rashid". Daily Times. 22 May 2013. Archived from the original on 14 June 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  25. ^ "Imran, Sheikh Rashid reaffirm seat adjustment in Rawalpindi - DAWN.COM". Dawn. 4 January 2014. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  26. ^ "PTI head-hunting spree continues – The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 2 December 2011. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  27. ^ "PTI agrees to electoral alliance with AML – The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 8 August 2012. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  28. ^ "PTI names Sheikh Rashid for coveted slot – The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 29 July 2017. Archived from the original on 31 July 2017. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  29. ^ "Pakistan elects Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as interim prime minister". Daily Pakistan Global. Archived from the original on 1 August 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  30. ^ "Sheikh Rashid winning in NA-62". Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  31. ^ "PM Imran Khan finalises names of 21-member cabinet". DAWN.COM. 18 August 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
  32. ^ "16 ministers from PM Imran Khan's cabinet sworn in". DAWN.COM. 20 August 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  33. ^ "Pakistan suspends final rail link to India over Kashmir dispute". Reuters. 9 August 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  34. ^ Raza, Syed Irfan (12 December 2020). "Rashid gets interior ministry in surprise reshuffle". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  35. ^ "Shaukat to play host to Vajpayee". DAWN.COM. 2 January 2004. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  36. ^ "Pak minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed suspected behind jehadi camp, peace process in jeopardy". India Today. 27 June 2005. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  37. ^ a b "India rejects Rashid's travel application". DAWN.COM. 25 June 2005. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  38. ^ "Did He Help Train 3,500 Militants?". Outook India. 27 June 2005. Archived from the original on 12 January 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  39. ^ "Rashid seeks permit for private Srinagar visit". DAWN.COM. 9 June 2005. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  40. ^ "Pak ex-minister detained in US trained Kashmir jihadis". Rediff. 29 June 2012. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  41. ^ "Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed briefly detained at Houston airport – The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 28 June 2012. Archived from the original on 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  42. ^ Sheikh Rasheed offloaded Archived 13 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Pakistantoday.com.pk (21 March 2014). Retrieved on 11 May 2016.
  43. ^ Bhatti, Haseeb (13 June 2018). "Supreme Court rules in Sheikh Rashid's favour in misdeclaration of assets case". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 12 March 2023.
  44. ^ Tariq, Aamir (13 February 2023). "Profile: Sheikh Rashid Ahmed". Daily Pakistan. His first book, Farzand-e-Pakistan (Son of Pakistan), was an instant hit and 13 editions of this book have been sold so far.
  45. ^ "Sh Rashid launches book 'From Lal Haveli to the United Nations' in Lahore". Dunya News. 6 September 2020.