ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former interior minister and senior leader of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Rehman Malik, has passed away, his spokesperson said in the early hours of Wednesday. He was hospitalized last month with COVID-19 related complications and had since been on a ventilator. He is survived by his widow and two sons.
Rehman Malik was born in 1951 in Sialkot, Punjab, and gained his BSc and MSc in Statistics in 1973 from the Karachi University. In 2011, Karachi University awarded him an honorary doctorate in recognition of “matchless services to the country in the war on terror and particularly in restoring peace to the citizens of Karachi.”
Before turning to politics, Malik had pursued a successful career in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) as a special agent, eventually becoming the Additional Director General of the FIA in 1993. During his stint as director, he coordinated successful counter-terrorist operations in the country as well as abroad, including the arrest and extradition to the United States in 1995 of Ramzi Yousef, one of the main perpetrators of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the bombing of Philippine Airlines Flight 434.
After being removed from the directorship by PM Nawaz Sharif, Malik moved to the United Kingdom and joined the PPP.
From 2004 until 2007, he served as the chief of security for ex-PM Benazir Bhutto and became a senior official of the central committee of the PPP. After successfully contesting the general elections in 2008, Malik was appointed adviser and eventually interior minister, a post on which he remained until 2013.
Rehman Malik had tested positive for the coronavirus in January. At that time, his spokesperson said the former senator had initially been shifted to the intensive care unit of a private hospital in Islamabad after his condition deteriorated. However, his condition had continued to worsen and doctors subsequently put him on a ventilator on February 1.
“Deeply devastated to say that Former Interior Minister, PPP senior leader Abdul Rehman Malik passed away,” the politician’s spokesperson Riaz Ali Turi said on Twitter. “Sorrow, pain and grief are indescribable. All are requested to pray for his soul.”
The senior PPP leader had tested positive for coronavirus around two weeks ago.
According to Turi, the former senator was initially shifted to the intensive care unit of a private hospital in Islamabad after his condition deteriorated. However, his condition continued to worsen and doctors put him on a ventilator on Tuesday, he added.
Malik had not been feeling well for the last 15 days. The virus affected his lungs, Turi said. The spokesperson said the PPP leader had also been complaining of breathing problems after contracting Covid.
The spokesperson said the virus had affected Malik’s lungs and the former senator had been complaining of breathing problems after contracting Covid.
Talking to the media, Malik’s nephew Waqas Malik said the former senator’s funeral prayers would be held at the mosque in Islamabad’s H-8 sector at 2:30pm on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, former president Asif Ali Zardari and Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had sent flowers to Senator Rehman Malik for his early recovery from post Covid lungs complication & involving respiratory system.
Rehman Malik obtained a master’s degree in statistics from the University of Karachi in 1973 and was awarded an honorary PhD from the same institution in 2012.
He had a long career as a politician and held many portfolios, including his term as interior minister from 2008 to 2013.
He was also a recipient of the Sitara-i-Shujaat for his services in the Federal Investigation Agency and the Nishan-i-Imtiaz.
Leaders offer condolences
Condolences poured in from PPP stalwarts and political leaders from other parties on Malik’s passing.
PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari paid tribute to Malik, saying he was a “hardworking and capable interior minister”.
He added that Malik’s services to the country were unforgettable and the PPP leadership and workers shared in his family’s grief.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed expressed his grief over news of the demise and extended condolences to the departed’s family. Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar offered his condolences on the former interior minister’s death.
PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwalla said he was “deeply saddened” on hearing the news and praised his former peer as a “good man and amazing politician”.
“Rehman Malik’s death is a great loss for the country’s politics. The vacuum created by Rehman Malik’s demise can never be filled,” he said, adding that his services for the PPP will always be remembered.
“I am deeply saddened by the demise of former interior minister Rehman Malik. May God forgive him and grant patience to his family,” senior PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal tweeted.
Sindh Local Bodies Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said Malik was a great leader and extended his condolences to the deceased’s family.
Politicians took to Twitter to express condolences over Malik’s death. President Dr. Arif Alavi expressed “deep sorrow” and sympathies for the Malik family.