ISLAMABAD - Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid seems to have lost his front-row status on the top of Imran Khan’s container and has appeared less frequently at the D-Chowk sit-in during recent days.
Rashid, who would often stand side by side with PTI’s chief Imran Khan on the container, has been rarely given the opportunity to address participants of the 42-day long sit-in outside the Parliament House.
The flamboyant politician from Lal Haveli was recently observed puffing his Cuban cigar while sitting on a plastic chair after he was not allowed by PTI’s security team to enter Khan’s container, which also serves as living room for Imran Khan and other party leaders.
“I think something went wrong between Imran Khan and Sheikh Rashid. Khan has been giving him a cold shoulder,” a PTI leader who always occupies the container told The Nation on Thursday. “Sheikh Rashid remains absent from the container and seldom shows up at D-Chowk,” he added.
Some PTI leaders said that AML being the ally of PTI in anti-government agitation has badly failed to contribute to the sit-in and could not bring large number of protesters. “Sheikh Rashid can neither contribute money nor can pull his supporters to the protest venue,” a PTI office-bearer said.
“Sheikh Sahib would visit D-Chowk at evening and would address a readymade rally. Despite representing Rawalpindi, which is the nearest city, he cannot bring even 100 supporters,” another PTI leader commented.
But some insiders in PTI said that Imran Khan had been facing tough criticism over his dependence on Sheikh Rashid, particularly in wake of Javed Hashmi’s revelation who had dubbed Rashid as the one whispering continuously into the ears of Khan.
“What I conclude is that Imran Khan has perhaps been misguided by Sheikh Rashid on several issues. A few days back, a party fellow told Imran that Sheikh would accompany PTI only to convince our lawmakers to resign from National Assembly,” a PTI source commented.
But on Thursday, Rashid finally succeeded in getting space atop the container. He had angrily complained to PTI leadership about the security team that was not allowing him inside the shipping container.
A call made on his cell number was attended by an unidentified person who replied that Rashid had left his mobile phone outside before stepping into the container.