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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader and former interior minister, Senator Rehman Malik passed away at the age of 70, on Wednesday, in Islamabad due to coronavirus-related complications.

Malik’s spokesperson Riaz Ali Turi in his tweet said, “Deeply devastated to say that former interior minister [and] PPP’s senior leader, Abdul Rehman Malik, passed away.”

Earlier this month, Malik was put on a ventilator after his health deteriorated due to Covid-related complications.

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.

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 today (Thursday).

Abdul Rehman Malik was born on 12 December 1951 in Sialkot. He gained his BSc degree and MSc in Statistics in 1973 from the Karachi University.

He was a Pakistani politician and a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officer, having served as the Interior Minister from being appointed on 25 March 2008 until 16 March 2013.

Prior to his entry in national politics, Malik had pursued a successful career in the FIA as a special agent, eventually becoming the Additional Director General of in 1993 until 1996.

During his stint as Director, he coordinated successful counter-terrorist operations in the country as well as abroad, including the arrest and extradition of Yousaf Ramzi to the United States in 1995. After being removed from the directorship, Malik moved to the United Kingdom and began political activity through the PPP platform.

From 2004 until 2007, he served as the chief of security of Benazir Bhutto and became senior official of the central committee of the PPP. After successfully contesting the general elections held in 2008, Malik was appointed adviser and eventually appointed interior minister by Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani.

In 2013, he lost his ministerial appointment after a Supreme Court’s hearing against the dual nationality case, which also influenced his decision of resigning from the Pakistan Senate, also the same year.

He was also a recipient of the Sitara-e-Shujaat for his services in the FIA and the Nishan-e-Imtiaz.

Condolences poured in from the PPP stalwarts and political leaders from other parties on Malik’s passing.

PPP co-chairman 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.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also expressed grief over the death of Rehman Malik, a member of PPP Central Executive Committee.

Bilawal prayed for Rehman Malik’s high ranks and patience for his family.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed 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.

PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif tweeted, “Deeply saddened to learn about the passing of PPP leader Rehman Malik. May Allah Almighty rest his soul in peace! I extend my heartfelt condolences and profound sympathies to the bereaved family and the PPP leadership.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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