TORONTO: (Christian Times) – Awami Muslim League (AML) leader Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad on Thursday dodged a question on Mumtaz Qadri by discussing his history at the educations institutions established by Christians and avoiding a direct answer to the question. When asked by CEO of Christian Times why the politician from Rawalpindi wanted to come to power with the help of the supporters of a killer, as he had claimed while talking to Nadeem Malik, a Pakistani TV anchor on Samaa TV, and how would he be able to secure the rights of the minorities after coming to power with the help of radical Islamists, Sheikh Rasheed said that he respected the Christians and considered them to be loyal and committed Pakistanis. However, he didn’t directly respond to the actual question.
Here is the excerpt of the discussion between Sheikh Rasheed and Christian Times CEO Yeshwa Younis:
Yeshwa: Sir, my name is Yeshwa Younas and I belong to the persecuted Christian community of Pakistan.
I have two similar questions from you.
Sheikh Rasheed: If they are similar, then why not ask one?
Yeshwa: Sir, the question is about Mumtaz Qadri.
When the supreme court of Pakistan sentenced him to death, and you just said that you respected the judiciary, but still you want to come to power with the votes of Mumtaz Qadri’s sympathizers, and you’ve mentioned it as well in the past.
“Every politician goes to the religious groups in the hour of need”
So when you will come into power, how will Christians benefit from it? The sympathizers who have openly said that Christians……
Sheikh Rasheed: Sir, you should ask the question only, don’t read out Razia Butt’s novel to me please… (laughter)
I have great respect for Christians. Christians are like brothers to me. I was born in Holy Family Hospital, studied at Christian High School, was (student union’s) president at Gordon College, and from Gordon College I graduated. I went to jail from Christian High School. There is not a single politician in Pakistan who would have gone to children’s jail. So I was the first student in the history of Christian High School, not just school but in the history of Pakistan who had gone to children’s jail. So I completely backed Christians’ rights, consider them as loyal and committed to Pakistan. And they currently have dual vote, if you want us to advocate for three, we’ll do even that.
Yeshwa: No sir, we don’t have right to two votes right now.
Sheikh Rasheed: I don’t want to debate about it; I’m with you. And religious parties do have politics in Pakistan and every politician goes to the religious groups when in the hour of need. And I have good relations with all the sects; I’m one politician from Rawalpindi, Pakistan who has equally good relations with Shia community as well. I believe that one should not give up on their religion and must not interfere in other people’s faith either. I have this message for entire Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention here that Sheikh Rasheed has been under heavy criticism from various publications in Canada since he came here for his vocal support for Islamists and terrorist outfits. Sheikh Rasheed had come here to meet Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) leader Dr Tahir ul-Qadri, who is also a religious cleric from Islam’s Barelvi sect, and this discussion took place during a press meet-up on his visit in Toronto.