LAHORE - Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, once believed to be the ‘ace’ of Rawalpindi’s politics, now searching for a political partner strong enough to assist him regaining his ‘throne, NA-55’.
When this correspondent contacted the political wizards of NA-55 on Tuesday in a bid to discover the political realities of the constituency, he said that political realities have not changed much since its first election, while the people residing in this constituency believe in conservative trends, strong sympathy with Kashmiri cause and candidates of Kashmiri origin.
When asked, Malik Shakeel Awan, the sitting MNA from NA-55 is not a Kashmiri, they said that he was the candidate of the PML-N who is led by a known Kashmiri origin leader.
Sheikh Rasheed founder of Awami Muslim League (AML) after his fall out with Pervez Musharraf is facing a political quagmire in terms of reclaiming his seat (NA-55), which he knew could not be secured from the PML-N even with the support of Defence of Pakistan Council (DPC) Likeminded forces.
The people of this constituency who sent Sheikh Rasheed six times to the parliament believed for many years that he was the true representative of Kashmiri people and opponent of liberal democrats but he damaged his credibility by siding with Musharraf, especially during the Lal Masjid incident, which seriously damaged his political career.
The local political pundits are of the opinion that political realities of NA-55 compels Sheikh Rasheed to make a political arrangement with PML-N, as any political deal outside this may send him to political oblivion.
Rasheed switched political loyalties to PML-Q, a king’s party founded with the blessings of General Musharraf under the command of Chaudharys of Gujrat, was the first betrayal to the people of NA-55.
Senior PTI and PML-N leaders, Ahsan Rasheed and Pervaiz Rasheed when contacted said that no promises had been made to Sheikh Rasheed and there was no possibility of any such action in the near future.
Ahsan Rasheed said that Sheikh Rasheed has invited PTI chief, Imran Khan for Independence Day function at Lal Haveli on the night of August 13 however possibility of forging a political arrangement with him is not clear so far.
Pervaiz Rasheed said, “Sheikh Rasheed is stuck between ‘pop singer and popes’ and he is nothing more than a disarray political bird”.
However, Sheikh Rasheed when reached claimed that political realities have been changing and he would become the ‘political necessity’ of the mainstream political forces. He insisted that he would not merge AML into any party but forge an electoral alliance only.