Former senator and People’s Party (PPP) leader Rehman Malik died on Wednesday in Islamabad due to coronavirus-related complications, his spokesperson Riaz Ali Turi confirmed. He was 70.
“Deeply devastated to say that former interior minister [and] PPP’s senior leader, Abdul Rehman Malik, passed away,” he tweeted.
He is survived by his widow and two sons.
Malik, who had received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Karachi, served as the interior minister of the country from 2008 to 2013. He was one of the closest aides of former premier Benazir Bhutto.
The government of Pakistan had awarded him with one of the highest civilian awards in the country — Sitara-e-Shujat (the Star of Bravery) – in recognition of his services to the country. He also received one of the most prestigious civil decorations — the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (the Order of Excellence) — from the state.
Malik was put on a ventilator after his health deteriorated due to Covid-related complications.
Malik had tested positive for the coronavirus in January. At that time, his spokesperson said the former senator had initially been shifted to the intensive care unit of a private hospital in Islamabad after his condition deteriorated. However, his condition had continued to worsen and doctors subsequently put him on a ventilator on February 1.
The spokesperson said the virus had affected his lungs and he had been complaining of breathing problems.
Malik was born on 12 December 1951 in Sialkot. He got his BSc and MSc in Statistics in 1973 from the Karachi University. In 2011, 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.”
In 1973, Malik joined the National Alien Registration Authority (NARA) as the immigration agent and subsequently served in intelligence organisations in various capacities, working in various criminal offense cases. In the 1980s, allegedly on the recommendation of Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi, he joined the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) as a special agent. Eventually he was appointed an Additional Director General of the FIA in 1993. His appointment was personally approved by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto
Condolences poured in from PPP stalwarts and political leaders from other parties on Malik’s passing.
PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwalla said he was “deeply saddened” on hearing the news and praised his former peer as a “good man and amazing politician”.
“Rehman Malik’s death is a great loss for the country’s politics. The vacuum created by Rehman Malik’s demise can never be filled,” he said, adding that his services for the PPP will always be remembered.
“I am deeply saddened by the demise of former interior minister Rehman Malik. May God forgive him and grant patience to his family,” senior PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal tweeted.
Sindh Local Bodies Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said Malik was a great leader and extended his condolences to the bereaved family.