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Meet Sheikh Rasheed – Pakistan’s ‘Lota e Azam’, interior minister, ‘cricketer’, and maker of ‘smart bombs’​

Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad poses as crusader of blasphemy politics, part-time interior minister and, most recently, a cricketer.​

NAILA INAYAT28 October, 2021 1:33 pm IST

File photo | Sheikh Rasheed/Twitter
File photo | Sheikh Rasheed/Twitter
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Sometimes he’s a sarkari Wizard of Oz, sometimes the uncouth desi Donald Trump, sometimes the only eligible bachelor to have walked the earth. Other times, not suitable to be an office messenger of the current Pakistan prime minister, but he thinks he’s a general without uniform. So, his political loyalties don’t matter as much as his loyalty to Gate Number Four of GHQ Rawalpindi. In his free time, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad poses as a crusader of blasphemy politics, as long as his opponents are on the receiving end, part-time interior minister and, most recently, a cricketer who no one knew.
What we now do know is that since 1992, all the heartbreaks that Pakistani fans suffered in the World Cup matches against India were due to Sheikh Rasheed. For he says he has played in every game till Dubai 2021. Now count the odd one out. Heartbroken fans of the 1996 World Cup quarter-final, who vilified Aamer Sohail for getting bowled over by Venkatesh Prasad after pointing his bat towards the cover boundary and throwing away the match, can now rest in peace. It was actually all done by a certain Sheikh. Though cricket statisticians might have no record.

Having secured a two-day off from Prime Minister Imran Khan, this ‘player’ arrived in Dubai to watch the India-versus-Pakistan T20 game, but on the eve of the clash, he returned home to deal with some issues of national importance. What could be more important than a cricket match for Pakistan’s interior minister, you’d think? Islamist Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) protesters marching towards Islamabad demanding the release of their chief Saad Hussain Rizvi and the expulsion of French ambassador from Pakistan. Elated with his performance in the cricket field, not on the negotiation table with TLP, Rasheed burst into a passionate speech. And why not, Labbaik protesters challenging the writ of the State is a bi-annual affair, whereas winning against India is once in forever.

Guns and roses

Staying on the nukes, wars and wizardry, Sheikh Rasheed has a special gift to predict events, like when governments will be toppled – ‘Qurbani se pehle qurbani hogi’. The war with India will begin in November-December 2019, he had assured everyone. Because Pakistan hadn’t made an atom bomb for Diwali or Shab-e-baraat – always a favourite hook line. “Neither will any grass grow in India nor bells will ring in the temple of Balaji after this war,” he threatened.

After the abrogation of Article 370 by India, things got real with Sheikh. Then a railway minister, he got a jolt from a mic he was holding at a rally and saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi behind it. He claimed Pakistan and India had fought 10 wars. Now I, for one, want a copy of the Pakistan Studies book he’s reading from. A figment of his imagination, Rasheed also said India should fear Pakistan’s ‘smart bombs because it could divide the country into ‘22 parts’. His theory of 125-250 gram bombs for India was as real as us buying aik pao yoghurt and telling the shopkeeper: “Double shopper kar dena (Give me an extra big bag)”. Bomb in a shopper bag, the future of bombs was here. Then there were the ‘precision bombs’ for India’s non-Muslims that Sheikh and some scientist discovered, which stay in their drawing room now, we assume. But never underestimate the man’s love for his country – he is ready to fight on the border with India. Even though he ran away on the day of the nuclear tests for which he now claims credit and also says that then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had no role in driving the policy.

Now haters are going to say that most of Sheikh Rasheed’s political rhetoric is just what it is supposed to be, rhetoric. Serving at the pleasure of multiple rulers in a career spanning 35 years, you do become more than nuisance value, especially when you are the country’s interior minister. Statements that you then give are a driver of your office, but no one in this hybrid regime seems to care. The ins and outs of politics, who’s meeting who, what’s the military establishment thinking, are some things the local media believes is in Sheikh Rasheed’s patari (basket). His nemeses would say he meets the chaprasi (office messenger) and tells everyone “Meri sahib se mulaqat hui hai (I’ve met the boss)”.

Chaprasi was something Prime Minister Imran Khan didn’t plan to keep Sheikh Rasheed as, that’s why he is now his interior minister. There was mutual disdain – Sheikh Rasheed thought Khan was a ‘mamooli kaptaan, and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf was a ‘tonga’ party with one seat in the national assembly. Back in the day, Khan was vocal about Sheikh’s jihadi connections in Kashmir and his camps in Rawalpindi. The same estate that is now known as Freedom House, a farmhouse of sorts where the minister is often seen spending quality time riding, boating, fishing and even feeding ducks. Not at par with Amrish Puri and Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘aao aao’ pigeon-feeding moment in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, but we’ll still give him 250-gram bombs for effort.

Often seen with cigars, Sheikh Rasheed is a foodie at heart, whose favourite chicken piece since childhood has been the ‘leg piece’ or the drumstick. Something he had to fight for with his siblings, now drumstick lovers can all relate to that.
File photo | Sheikh Rasheed/Twitter

Also read: India’s distance with Pakistan and Bangladesh growing. Cricket can help

Duniya haseeno ka mela, melay mein Sheikh akela

Among other things of national importance has been Sheikh Rasheed remaining single. “Aapne shaadi nahin ki, koi mili nahin? (Why haven’t you gotten married?) reporters would ask him. “Mera dil koi supermarket nahin hai (my heart is not a supermarket),” he’d tell. He believes an express train never ‘weighs’ a passenger, whatever that means. Seemingly romantic at heart, Rasheed shares how he would be impressed by a woman who was khoonkhaar (fiesty) and whose presence could be felt: Double B ho toh B2 a2=a+b, then it impress me.” Now this is a formula that single men at 70 must apply.
Rasheed’s most bizarre take yet is that if you can get fresh milk from the market, don’t buy a buffalo. The same mindset that led him to launch a rather vulgar attack against Reham Khan after her marriage with Imran Khan ended, equating her to a ‘tawaif’ on a tv show and saying that even ‘ka***rs’ have some values. This is not the first time though. He called slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto a ‘taxi’ in the national assembly and Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari ‘a manufacturing defect’. But such behaviours are never ostracised and so it continues to thrive.
The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.
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Active member
Mar 12, 2018

After all these years of watching the Pakistanis and their usual comedy stuffs.
I think it seems except Jinnah noone had any wish to create their own nation.They didnt had any motivation to create their own nation.
All of their activities for past 7 decade was somehow connected to India whether it is fighting, itching on border , cultural stuff etc.

Still remember the running of the media shows and political commentry in there once Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge of the PMO .
Another ridiculous example was when we tried for Vikram lander in Moon.Google datas showed the trending in Pakistan was that ISRO mission at it reached peak at early morning and then once confirmed the mission was a fail .Everything became normal

They have to understand past is past and no amount of jingoism earns our attention seriously.
Laws like CAA, NRC made them more bitter lol.
Latest one was the T20 match.
It was just one effing match.But from their PM to ministers to down the people everything went frenzy and crazy.
But in foreign nations they want to be friends with Indians.
We can understand the people infact we have our own share of stupid.But Govt authorities?
Our govt or officials didnt utter a single word.

And the way our leaders handled them until 90s .Our people also had that colonial hangover .
But now the new gen dont even care and treats them like any other foreigner ,especially after 26/11 make the Paxtan more anxious lol.
Fake histories that they are descendents of Mughal heroes that defeated the evil Yindoos made inferiority complex even harder.
And to earn more attention economically they just handed over themselves to Chinese and now suffering

It is better to them to forgot that PTSD of years of defeat from our hands.
And start to build their nation.
@AbRaj @nair @Ashwin


Senior member
Mar 15, 2018
I think it seems except Jinnah noone had any wish to create their own nation.They didnt had any motivation to create their own nation.
Jinnah was an opportunist who cannot get any majority in elections on merit and religion was easy way out. Very fact he never went to prison during freedom struggle says a lot about him. (Gandhi for all the faults, was million times better ) He was more of a western elitist who drank alcohol, ate pork and smoked cigar but became ardent (opportunist) islamist the moment the british presented him with a choice to be in power. The same thing you see in every muslim country now a days.

When there are so many muslim countries why create a new one, why not merge with other or go simply go to the land where god promised paradise, sounds logical rt?