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Profile: Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

Aamir Tariq 06:50 PM | 13 Feb, 2023
Profile: Sheikh Rashid Ahmed
Source: Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has been an icon of conventional politics, statesmanship, utilitarianism, public idealism, practical wisdom, diverse experience and exposure for decades. He started his political career as a worker and ultimately founded his own party, the Awami Muslim League (AML).

He remains in the news mostly due to his bold and controversial statements. He has always been in demand due to his unique prophetic style, dress, aesthetic sense, alleged links with showbiz figures and political gimmicks. He is a seasoned politician who relates himself to the layman and speaks in layman’s language. He can feel the pulse of the public and is recognised as maestro of street politics of the downtrodden and middle class of Pakistan.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, one of the most experienced and tactful politicians alive today in Pakistan, has seen evolving and fragile democracies, ruthless dictatorships, technocrat setups and short-termed democracies in Pakistan.

Political pundits and analysts are unanimous on the point that Sheikh Rashid Ahmed is one of the most talented politicians when it comes to making coalitions. Due to these attributes, he has enjoyed the most powerful and influential public offices and ministries over the past five decades. He quickly changes his identity from a critic to a counsel, diehard supporter to arch-rival, autocratic to democratic, Western to dogmatic, liberal to freedom fighter, elitist to shantytown and modern to fundamentalist.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was born on November 6, 1950 in the city of Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan. He received his primary education at home in Rawalpindi. He went to Christian High School and then studied at the Government Polytechnic Institute. He took a school exchange programme to Gordon College to study law. After passing just one semester there, he went to the Punjab University and finished his LLB degree there in 1973. He later got his master’s degree in political science in 1982 from the Punjab University.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed started taking interest in politics in the Ayub Khan era. He has been elected Member of National Assembly (MNA) seven times since 1985. He has served as federal minister for labour, information and broadcasting, sports, interior, railways and industry.

In 2001, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was among one of the confidantes of military ruler Pervez Musharraf. In 2002, he was appointed information minister. Later, General Pervez Musharraf made him minister for railways in 2006.

After the cold-blooded murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed lost the general election in both of his Rawalpindi constituencies, NA-55 and NA-56, in 2008. After his defeat, there were speculations that Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has fled to Spain. Later in 2008, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed founded his own faction of the Muslim League, named as Awami Muslim League.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed reclaimed his National Assembly seat in NA-55 by defeating a PML-N candidate in August 2012 after seat adjustment with Imran Khan. He was elected to the National Assembly for a record seventh time with 90,000 votes. His rival could get just 22,000 votes.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed lives like a crown prince in the famous Lal Haveli. He was put in jail by the then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for keeping illegal weapons. He has been a darling of the electronic media and is one of the most sought after guests on political TV shows. He was linked to film actresses like Reema Khan, Meera, Resham, Anjuman and Zara Sheikh during his years in power.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was seen as one of the politicians supporting Pakistani jihadi outfits fighting in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. On 13 June 2005, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik revealed that Sheikh Rashid Ahmed "provided 3,500 jihadists for the Kashmir operations". Consequently, he was not allowed by the Indian government to visit Kashmir.

On 27 June 2012, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was stopped at a Houston airport for his alleged links to Lashkar-e-Taiba and its chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who was allegedly involved in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has authored two books. His first book, Farzand-e-Pakistan (Son of Pakistan), was an instant hit and 13 editions of this book have been sold so far. His second book is titled Sab Achha Hai (All Is Well) and it is in its completion phase.

His alliance with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and support to Imran Khan has given a new life to Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s political career. In 2017, PTI named Sheikh Rashid Ahmed as its candidate for prime minister’s office after the Supreme Court of Pakistan disqualified Nawaz Sharif as prime minister in the Panama Leaks case.

Most notably, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed remained in limelight as Railways minister first and later he was made an Interior minister after reshuffling of Cabinet by the then Prime Minister Imran Khan. He remained "the darling of electronic media" with his typical political and profound statesmanship and witty dialogues.

Recently, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was arrested for levelling allegations against former president Asif Ali Zardari, co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). He has been in police custody since February 2 for allegedly saying that Zardari was part of a conspiracy to assassinate Imran Khan.

Aamir Tariq
Aamir Tariq

The writer is a staff member.

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Today's currency exchange rates in Pakistan - Dollar, Euro, Pound, Riyal rates on March 23, 2023

KARACHI - Following are the foreign currency exchange rates for US Dollar, Saudi Riyal, UK Pound Sterling, U.A.E. Dirham, European Euro, and other foreign currencies in Pakistan open market on March 23, 2023 (Thursday).

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar ‎USD 283.1 286.15
Euro EUR 302.5 305.5
UK Pound Sterling GBP 343.5 347
U.A.E Dirham AED 77.2 78
Saudi Riyal SAR 75.4 76.2
Australian Dollar AUD 187 189.4
Bahrain Dinar BHD 749.55 757.55
Canadian Dollar CAD 205 207.2
China Yuan CNY 40.91 41.31
Danish Krone DKK 40.77 41.17
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.92 36.27
Indian Rupee INR 3.41 3.52
Japanese Yen JPY 2.06 2.11
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 919.22 928.22
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 62.85 63.45
New Zealand Dollar NZD 176.66 178.66
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.33 26.63
Omani Riyal OMR 731.97 739.97
Qatari Riyal ‎QAR 77.43 78.13
Singapore Dollar SGD 208 210
Swedish Korona SEK 26.5 26.8
Swiss Franc CHF 305.12 307.62
Thai Bhat THB 8.19 8.34

Today's gold rates in Pakistan – 23 March 2023

KARACHI – The price of a single tola of 24-karat gold in Pakistan is Rs 203,800 on Thursday. The price of 10 grams of 24k gold was recorded at Rs174,730.   

Likewise, 10 grams of 22k gold were being traded for Rs163,624 while a single tola of 22-karat gold was being sold at Rs 190,880.

Note: The gold rate in Pakistan is fluctuating according to the international market so the price is never been fixed. The below rates are provided by local gold markets and Sarafa Markets of different cities.

City Gold Silver
Lahore PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Karachi PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Islamabad PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Peshawar PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Quetta PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Sialkot PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Attock PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Gujranwala PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Jehlum PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Multan PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Bahawalpur PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Gujrat PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Nawabshah PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Chakwal PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Hyderabad PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Nowshehra PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Sargodha PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Faisalabad PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350
Mirpur PKR 203,800 PKR 2,350

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