ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed claimed on Thursday that former president and Co-Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari was likely to return the ‘looted’ money by March 2020, under a plea bargain.

Talking to the media, he expressed satisfaction over the granting of bail to Zardari by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on medical grounds following the submission of surety bonds of Rs10 million in the court.

Zardari, facing corruption charges, was admitted in the Pakistan Institute of Medial Sciences (PIMS) for the treatment of multiple diseases.

Sheikh Rashid said Indian Prime Minister Narendera Modi must know that the Muslims of Madhya Pradesh and Utter Pradesh (UP) would soon follow other fellow Muslims and raise their voice against the atrocities of his government.

He thanked media for exposing the Indian atrocities in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

To a question, the minister said the new chief election commissioner should be neutral since the opposition had not accepted the results of 2013 and 2018 general elections.

He added that those calling for early elections should be ashamed of their demand.

Strongly condemning the attack by lawyers on the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) on Wednesday, which claimed several lives, he said the lawyers had shown their utter disregard for the high professional standards set by the founder of Pakistan. He said he was depressed to see hooliganism by lawyers.

“The whole nation is in the grip of grief and sorrow,” Rashid said, and added in the same breath that overall the lawyers rejected use of violence by their colleagues for the acceptance of their demands.

He urged the youth to play their role in the progress and prosperity of the country, adding that youth were always the centre of his attention as they were an asset for the country and guarantor of bright future.

The minister further said that Pakistan was an important country, having vast manpower. “There is no dearth of resources in the country, and the need is to ensure optimum utilization of the same,” he urged.

He asked political parties to cooperate with the government in providing relief to the common man.