Pakistan politics: Four leaders enjoying PM’s protocol

By Tariq Butt

ISLAMABAD: At least four leading figures of the present ruling coalition in centre revel in elaborate official protocol and security paraphernalia reserved for the prime minister. They are Yousaf Raza Gilani, Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif and Rehman Malik.

“They have at their disposal bullet-and bomb-proof high-powered jeeps that they use during road travels. And police commandos accompany them in large numbers for their security,” a senior official told The News.

Among them, Prime Minister Gilani has the most extended safety net around him, having the largest number of vehicles under his use. Asif Ali Zardari, who has a large number of PPP loyalists accompanying him all the time, also enjoys official protocol similar to the prime minister. Besides the federal security, Zardari is provided with provincial protocol when he visits a particular province.

Like her slain wife Benazir Bhutto, Zardari heavily relies on PPP loyalists for his security. The government has also provided a comprehensive security cover to Nawaz Sharif, the second major partner in the ruling coalition.

Apart from the federal paraphernalia for his protection, he also has the Punjab police’s protection shield. Besides, a number of his PML-N workers also always accompany him. For his role in the war on terror, Rahman Malik, Adviser to the prime minister on interior, is heavily protected and enjoys a security akin to that of the premier.

Source: The News, 14/7/2008

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