Sheikh Rasheed has had a long and fruitful career in politics, spanning 15 years and 35 ministries. Though how he has managed to stay in power for so long is incomprehensible for the vast majority of Pakistanis, as the man is considered somewhat of a national embarrassment. Sheikh Rasheed bears no loyalty to anyone or any cause except himself, as evidenced by his attaching himself to every winning party in order to stay in power. So it is perplexing why Prime Minister Imran Khan would hand one of the most important portfolios in the country to such a man. The interior minister has great power and sway over what goes on in the country and Sheikh Rasheed is a terrible man for the job, and here’s why.
Sheikh Rashid was the railways minister when the Tezgam tragedy occured. 73 people were killed in a blazing inferno on a passenger train, when a cooking cylinder burst and set the train on fire. Dangerous objects like flammable gas cylinders are prohibited on the national railways yet Sheikh Rasheed’s running of the railways was so dysfunctional that the people under his management did not fulfil the most basic requirements of their job, i.e checking the passengers’ baggage for prohibited material. Furthermore, he had the gall to blame this national tragedy on the unfortunate passengers instead of acknowledging the incompetence of his institution and himself. He shamelessly clung to power even when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court recommended that he resign in contrition for his role in the Tezgam tragedy.
While giving an interview, Sheikh Rasheed remarked that Pakistan has “125-250 gram atom bombs” which would target India without hurting Indian muslims, as if nuclear bombs have some mechanism to determine who is muslim or not before exploding. This nonsensical statement was the subject of much ridicule in the international media, especially in India, and embarrassed the nation.
In the first eleven months of his tenure as railways minister 74 railway accidents occured. Out of these 74, the Ministry reported that 24 occurred due to freight trains derailing while another 20 occurred at unsupervised railway crossings, which means more than half the accidents were a result of human error.