Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Acting busy all the time but to what end


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Now nearly 61 years old, there is no doubt that Mr Rehman Malik has come a long way in his personal life and career. But whether his successes in rising up many ladders had any bearing on his stint as the interior minister is another story all together.Never shy communicating, he has been at equal ease announcing an armed operation in Karachi against outlaws, regularly addressing press conferences in Lahore against PMLN leaders, and pursuing Baloch nationalists in Quetta to come back to the main stream politics. In fact, unlike most other politicians of his generation, he took on to the social media website Twitter and now is the proud claimant of 43,000 followers.

But for his peers and followers alike, Mr Malik’s appearances have come to immortalise the pop culture phrase “look busy do nothing”. And there are scores of incidents where the interior minister’s knee-jerk reactions have complicated simple issues.

For instance last Friday, Mr Malik stopped a group of 250 Hindu pilgrims from crossing the Wagah border at Lahore on a tip-off that the travelling families intended to migrate to India. Holding legal travel documents, the Pakistani Hindus staged a protest demonstration right at the border post for at least seven hours. As the incident was constantly flashed on television channels, the Presidency intervened and the pilgrims were allowed to carry on with their journey.

By then everyone had been so worked up that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf ordered an inquiry to determine the facts, which is being led by parliamentary affairs minister Senator Moula Bakhsh Chandio. On his part, Mr Malik insists that a “conspiracy” was afoot against the country by India.

But this was no random event where Mr Malik had misfired in haste.

In the third week of July, Mr Malik badly over-reacted when a British tabloid carried a story about a passport scam that allegedly took place with the participation of his ministry’s official in Lahore.

According to the Sun newspaper, a British-Pakistani managed to obtain a machine-readable passport on the basis of a fake identity card. Hearing the news, Mr Malik immediately suspended all the officials named in the alleged fraud and put them on the exit control list.

Next, without even waiting for the outcome of the initial investigation report, the interior minister constituted a high-powered joint investigation inquiry committee comprising top officials from the Federal Investigating Agency (FIA), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to probe the matter.

Needless to say, Mr Malik was left red-faced when it turned out that Sun’s story had misconstrued facts. Even though the story was rebuked by the federal cabinet, not a single word was uttered against Mr Malik for mishandling the issue.

In the past too, Mr Malik gained notoriety for jumping the gun. People still remember his initial statement after the July 2010 Air Blue plane crash in Margalla Hills. Based on media reports, he had informed former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani that a few passengers had survived the crash when in reality there was no survivor.

In political circles it is said in no hushed terms that Mr Malik’s survival on the political scene is largely because of his success in keeping the coalition together, particularly the MQM. Every time, the MQM has ached to leave the PPP, Mr Malik stepped in to save the day. Some even go to the extent of saying that his diplomacy was the real reason that governor Sindh Ishrat-ul-Abad in his capacity as chancellor of Karachi University conferred an honorary doctorate to Mr Malik.

But there is no breaking Mr Malik’s confidence and expecting introspection is too much to ask for. In fact, Mr Malik feels he can expand his wings: in a recent meeting of the federal cabinet, he actually offered the government his services to improve recoveries in the power sector, and improve provision of electricity in the country. But much to his consternation, the cabinet refused to accept his offer.

May be it’s about time that Mr Malik thought a bit about how he talks the walk, but can’t walk the walk.

Comments (20) Closed

anony Aug 17, 2012 05:13pm
42,000 people follow him on twitter???
anees Aug 17, 2012 11:19am
Since you must have wasted a few hours writing about this TATTOO, I am also wasting a few minutes. This man started his career as an ordinary policeman in Peshawar. From the very beginning, he used to arrange for " LUXURIES " of his authorities by providing them " guests ". In this way, he was able to " make progress ". And now he has been working hard for the " SECURITY " and PROGRESS of his OWN country.
Truth Aug 17, 2012 03:17pm
Robin Hood Malik is the gell keeping all the corrupt parties together. He is not worth the position he is assigned to but he certainly has some entertainment value. In this dire need when country is going through some tough times, he provides us laughter. Leave the man alone folks ;)
Haji Ashfaq Aug 17, 2012 08:15am
Well said.
Shirjeel Aug 17, 2012 12:01pm
Good one
MJKhan Aug 17, 2012 11:56am
To top it all , he is the chief advisor of AAZ on every issue AAZ faces. Few months back, he failed to recite correctly Surah "Akhlas" in the meeting presided by then PM Gilani. The news was all over TV for quite a while. Even his cabinet colleagues were laughing but the man goes about his business.
Dr.M.M.Khan Aug 17, 2012 12:10pm
Interior Minister is usually the second most powerful person in the country. He is supposed to be mature in thoughts and actions. He leads by example. In the case of Pakistan our minister has like instant coffee answers to every problem at once irrespective of tne nature of the problem. Perhaps he should filter his thoughts before speaking. I for once have stopped taking him seriously. Am i wrong-- Mr . Minister? .Your favourite subject is conspiracy theories in every shape and form!
Amjad Wyne Aug 17, 2012 03:51am
At least he walks - comes out of the office and smiles - 98% of the time. All these require effort and time. So if he acts busy, he has a reason. The remaining party leadership does not even do that.
Agha Ata Aug 17, 2012 04:02am
Rehman Malik is doing what he did yesterday. A mother asked her son, "What you doing son?" he said, "Nothing." The mother replied , "But thats what you did yesterday." The son said, "Yes, but I am not done yet."
Salman6 Aug 17, 2012 04:14am
Very true. I guess there wasn't enough room here to do justice to his innumerable 'attributes' !
Lalajeee Aug 17, 2012 04:29am
Another incompetent actor of PPP
Saeed Aug 17, 2012 05:14am
Symbol of the corrupt and incompetent government. No wonder Pakistan is in such dire straits. Who will rid us of these meddlesome people.
Noor Aug 17, 2012 05:36am
He should have resigned soon after taking over charge of interior minister when Marriott hotel was bombed under his nose. But this Pak nation of ours has to live in this pathetic state for another 100 years before we get sufficient character to submit our failures. Akkah hafiz till then.
Asghar Hussain Aug 17, 2012 05:47am
I love Rehman Malik for one simple reason. He just never stops entertaining us!
Azhar Chaudhry Aug 17, 2012 08:24am
He is paid for "Lip Service" . He love criticizing to save himself.
Gerry D'Cunha Aug 17, 2012 08:28am
Rehman Malik has been rewarded by his boss on this Independent Day. had he not renounced his British Citizenship, he would have also got MBE by the Queen on her birthday honour''s list.
Cyrus Howell Aug 17, 2012 09:03am
“look busy do nothing” He could have had an army career.
Cyrus Howell Aug 17, 2012 09:07am
He is the master of suspense. Who will be plotting against Pakistan next week? Stay tuned in. I'm wagering 1- 65 on Iceland.
AMI Aug 17, 2012 09:33am
It is a saying that a fish stinks from its head. And I rest my case.
Cyrus Howell Aug 21, 2012 06:26am
Oh, God.