Lahore - Giving credence to his past claims of prophesy, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad Saturday said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was not coming back Pakistan.  

“I don’t see Nawaz Sharif’s homecoming. He is not coming back and I am being true to myself,” he said at his weekly presser at the Railways Headquarters here.

He said that he had already predicted that Nawaz Sharif would go abroad and Zardari would come out of the jail.

Sheikh Rasheed also claimed that Shehbaz Sharif, whom he called his ‘friend’, will come back most probably in the months of March or April this year. “For the time being, let him (Shehbaz) do the work for which he is in London,” he said in a sarcastic comment, adding that he was from his ‘party’.

Rasheed believed that Nawaz Sharif had lost his political stature by choosing to go to London [for treatment]. “It has now been proved beyond doubt that he was ‘sick’ while at home and become healthy as he reached London”.

The minister also saw more corruption cases being instituted against Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz. “In fact, Shehbaz Sharif’s loot and plunder is higher than that of Nawaz Sharif”, he stressed.     

But he did not see any imminent change in the country’s political set-up, he said while replying to a question.

He rejected all such rumours saying “Nothing will happen.” He also said the same about Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar.

Expressing his unflinching support for the chief minister, Raheed said: ”I will continue to support him as along as Imran is standing behind him. I am in fact standing with Imran Khan like a shadow”, he remarked.

Sheikh Rasheed expressed his optimism that the controversy over the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) would end soon. “The matter would be resolved soon with consensus”, he said.

Talking about the much anticipated changes in the NAB Ordinance, the minister said that negotiations were underway among the political parties to evolve consensus.

He hinted at some behind-the-scene contacts with all the stakeholders to sort out the modalities.

The minister thanked all the opposition parties for their support on the passage of the Army Act by the Parliament.

Reacting to questions about inflation, Rasheed said he was not a PTI man. “I am standing with Imran Khan only”, he said.

He, however, admitted that people were suffering due to the high inflation. “But there is no other choice than Imran Khan under the present situation”, he observed and asked the people to give another one-and-half years to the government [to overcome this issue].

He said people would have been satisfied had they been provided cheap electricity, gas and wheat flour.

The minister made an interesting comment while reacting to a question about the shortage of wheat flour. “People eat more bread in winter”, he said implying thereby that current floor crisis had more to do with peoples’ eating habits than bad governance.

The minister also gave good news to the nation when he made a revelation that the railways department had plans to hire as many as 100,000 employees in March this year. He said a large number of employees were going to retire in March.

On the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and ML-1 project, the minister said that the PC-1 was ready for approval till March this year. He termed this project a game-changer and major part of CPEC.

Railways Minister announced that Mughulpura Dry Port would be opened next week for freight operations. He said that coal loading and unloading from Faisalabad would also start from February 1.