May 072008

By Tariq Butt

ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf has told the Chaudhrys of Gujrat that Rehman Malik, Adviser to the Prime Minister, is a nice person contrary to what they have been saying about him, painting him as a bad guy.

“In his last week’s crucial meeting with the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi at his Camp Office Rawalpindi, Musharraf told them that their information and assessment that Rehman Malik was a spoiler as far as the presidency and the PML-Q were concerned was wrong because he had proven to be a useful person,” a senior PML-Q leader, who fully knows the details of the session, confided to this correspondent on Tuesday.

The concerned leader was approached to get a sense of the state of affairs his party was beset with at present. His claim regarding the president’s favourable disposition towards Rehman Malik was made at a time when the adviser has landed in hot waters over the question of the by-election postponement.

On Tuesday, Rehman Malik came to the parliament building to wind up the ongoing debate in the Senate on law and order, but asked his driver to rush his car to gate number five from the VIP gate number one after seeing a horde of TV cameramen and reporters, who were ready to fire questions about his role in the by-polls postponement. He thus avoided facing the media persons.

However, questions were asked inside the parliament corridors and lobbies at whose behest the adviser had squeezed a written request from the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government to put off the by-polls.

“It is a faux pas that shows how the government is being run. It seems nobody is in control and there is no coordination,” PML-Q Secretary General Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said. Another senator said Rehman Malik either acted on orders of his boss, Asif Zardari, or the presidency. “He is not a free agent and he can’t be so. The announcement of the postponement was meant to stop someone from contesting the elections and to facilitate someone.”

It was learnt that Interior Secretary Syed Kamal Shah talked to the NWFP government for a request for the election postponement only after he was asked by Rehman Malik to do so. At the very outset, all the top ruling coalition leaders including Zardari, Information Minister Sherry Rehman, PML-Nawaz President Shahbaz Sharif and others directly or indirectly accused the presidency of hatching the conspiracy of polls postponement, but when the Awami National Party (ANP) exposed that it was Rehman Malik who did the trick, the adviser came under intense pressure.

“If Rehman Malik crossed the brief, he should have been sacked the moment the government faced the massive embarrassment,” said a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senator. The adviser has many rivals in his own party.

 Posted by at 7:16 am

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