20 September, 2014 / Ziqa'ad 24, 1435

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. — Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Anybody who is privy to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, has no doubts that he does not like Interior Minister Rehman Malik mainly because of his weakness for antics. But of late the premier has started speaking his mind about Mr Malik with regularity.

While sharing a meal with some parliamentarians recently, Mr Gilani expressed his serious reservations over Mr Malik's latest claim about uncovering a plot to kidnap PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto in Karachi.

Rehman Malik revealed that Al Qaeda and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan had hatched a conspiracy to kidnap Bilawal Zardari. The interior minister said the information was received two weeks ago. He said the TTP and Al Qaeda had designs on VIPs, but the government was taking steps to pre-empt their sinister aims.

“I really cannot understand what prompted Mr Malik to pass such a statement to the media on a very sensitive issue. His only problem is that he always wants to be in headlines,” Mr Gilani was quoted as saying by one of his aides.

The prime minister further said Mr Malik had been advised to be careful while talking to media, but he didn't listen to anybody. However, the aide said, Mr Gilani was perturbed over his remarks about Bilawal's kidnapping. The prime minister also hinted that he would take up the issue with President Zardari.

During the same press talk Mr Malik said Shahbaz Taseer was alive and the kidnappers were keeping him somewhere near the Afghan border. “As per intelligence, the kidnappers have kept the son of Salman Taseer in an area straddling the Pak-Afghan border, but I want to tell the terrorists that their coward action cannot weaken the government's resolve against extremism and terrorism,” he said.

Shahbaz Taseer was kidnapped from the Gulberg area of Lahore on Aug 26. A parliamentarian who was also present at the meeting where Prime Minister Gilani took a dig at Mr Malik, said this was not the first time when Mr Gilani had had questioned the interior minister's behaviour.

Moreover, the MNA added, it was an open secret that a majority of the party leaders didn't like him but since Mr Malik was considered a confidant of President Zardari, “we don't want to confront him”.

In reply to a question, the MNA said just because of his closeness with President Zardari, it was the prime minister who had to receive complaints against him from within the party rank and file.

The interior minister is so media-savvy that last year when an Air Blue plane crashed in Margalla hills, he initially reported that some of the passengers were alive and talking, the MNA recalled. Mr Malik had even passed on this information to the prime minister, the legislator added.


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