No pressure on Shazia to go abroad: Rashid
LAHORE,March 20,2005: Information Minister Sheikh Rashid has denied that Sui gang rape victim Dr Shazia Khalid and her husband have left Pakistan for the UK under government pressure.
“The government has not sent them abroad but they were sponsored by a non-government organisation (NGO),” Sheikh Rashid told reporters on Saturday.
“I am amazed that Dr Shazia has more importance in the media than anyone else,” the minister remarked. Clarifying a statement by President Pervez Musharraf, Sheikh Rashid said that the president had not said that moderates should take to the streets against clerics but he gave a message of love and peace. “In the president’s view, everybody who imposes his belief on others by force is an extremist, and extremists have no place in Pakistan,” he added.
Asked whether the president would relinquish his army post after the next general elections, Sheikh Rashid said the president would make a decision keeping in view the national and international situation. Asked about gas export to India, the minister said that no decision was taken in this regard.
“We have other options like Oman and Qatar for this purpose,” he added. He said that the petrol crisis had gripped the world, but it affected the Third World the most therefore the Oil and Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) should reduce fuel prices at least for South Asia.
Sheikh Rashid called US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent visit to Pakistan a success for Pakistan and the US
Asked about a religion column in the new passport, he said that the cabinet would discuss the issue in a meeting after Defence Minister Rao Sikandar Iqbal, head of the committee on religion column, presented his report.
Source: Daily Times