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Profile: Sheikh Rashid Ahmed

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.

The writer is a staff member.


Pakistani rupee rate against US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Riyal - Check 14 April forex rates

Pakistani currency remains unchanged against US dollar and other currencies in open market on April 14, 2024.

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

On Sunday, the US dollar was being quoted at 277.5 for buying and 280.5 for selling.

Euro was quoted at 299.95 for buying and 302.9 for selling while British Pound stands at 349.5 for buying, and 353 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.45 and Saudi Riyal's new rates was at 73.30. 

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 14 April 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 08:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.5 280.5
Euro EUR 299.95 302.9
UK Pound Sterling GBP 349.5 353
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.45
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.3 74.05
Australian Dollar AUD 182.7 184.5
Bahrain Dinar BHD 739.38 747.38
Canadian Dollar CAD 204 206.2
China Yuan CNY 38.45 38.85
Danish Krone DKK 40.45 40.85
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.57 35.92
Indian Rupee INR 3.33 3.44
Japanese Yen JPY 1.86
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 903.91 912.91
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.92 59.52
New Zealand Dollar NZD 167.63 169.63
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.38 25.68
Omani Riyal OMR 722.1 730.1
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.35 77.05
Singapore Dollar SGD 206 208
Swedish Korona SEK 25.72 26.02
Swiss Franc CHF 307.11 309.61
Thai Bhat THB 7.61 7.76


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