ISLAMABAD: The only thing Senator Rehman Malik might regret is that the death did not give him a chance to return to the parliament after he was denied a ticket by the Pakistan People’s Party in the last Senate elections.

The PPP stalwart was destined to make a comeback and perhaps in a much better political position but the Covid blocked the way.

Even before he was put on the ventilator, he was speaking to friends from the hospital including this writer and never felt to be out of life.

The daily updates of ‘stability’ in his health and ‘improvement’ by the doctors were merely to console the friends and family members who kept on chasing the hospital to know when he will come back home.

And he gave a shocker to the friends and family members early in the morning today (February 23) when nobody was expecting.

Malik had served as the interior minister from 2008 to 2013. He was one of the closest aides of former premier Benazir Bhutto and then very close to former President Asif Ali Zardari.

Born on December 12, 1951, Senator Malik served in the Federal Investigation Agency before joining politics. After the PPP’s win in 2008, he was appointed adviser and eventually as Interior Minister by then Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani.

Senator Malik was conferred with an honorary PhD by the Karachi University in recognition of “matchless services to the country in the war on terror and particularly in restoring peace to the citizens of Karachi.”

Senator Malik had made a huge family of friends including scores from the media and his doors were always open for them. In the last few years of his life, Senator Rehman Malik grew very close to this writer like a family member.

In the last few interactions, he was optimistic about the PPP’s return to power in the next general elections and see PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as the Prime Minister.

He never complained of being denied a Senate ticket for the last elections though others thought it was shocking. “The party has given me so much. This is a decision of the party leadership. There will be more opportunities in the future,” he would say when pressed on the issue.

The always smiling PPP leader had consistently supported democracy and served the party well for years. He did many jobs, the others can only imagine.

His negotiation skills as a politician were matchless. Many a times, he helped his leader Asif Ali Zardari to win back the annoyed allies when the PPP was in power.

At times, rumours emerged that he might leave the PPP but he would always say: “I am not going anywhere. The PPP is my family. Where can I go”

The PPP will miss a person like Senator Rehman Malik in the coming years. It will not be easy to find a replacement anytime soon.

Senator Rehman Malik was awarded an honorary PhD degree from Karachi University. He authored four books. His first book is “Modi’s War Doctrine: Indian anti-Pakistan Syndrome” detailing Narendra Modi’s RSS influenced war-mongering policies that led to serious escalations of Pakistan-India hostilities.

The PPP leader was also very active on the social media. His tweets on Pakistan-India ties were liked in Pakistan and keenly watched in India. Like a true patriot, he would respond to any comments against Pakistan.

Seems like a nightmare that we have lost him. I can still hear him coming down the stairs into the drawing room for long and informative gossips. Adieu Senator Rehman Malik. You will be dearly missed forever.

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