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Posts Tagged Rehman Malik

NADRAGate: The terrifying cable that should not be ignored by Waqas Ahmed in https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/

NADRAGate: The terrifying cable that should not be ignored

In 2010-11, Wikileaks released a trove of classified US govt data which consisted of communications between Washington and her embassies worldwide – this was called Cablegate.Cablegate consisted of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables – an overwhelming amount of data. In the same year (2011) Pakistani journalists published a story about one cable of particular interest: #09ISLAMABAD1642_a, classified ‘secret’ by US govt.

There was some noise about this cable back then, but the public quickly forgot it and it remained forgotten till a few days ago when Wikileaks tweeted about it and reminded us.

 

 

This particular cable details a series of meetings held in 2009 between the then Interior Minister of Pakistan, Rehman Malik, the President of Pakistan, Asif Zardari, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gilani with US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano. The purpose of these meetings, from the US side at least, was to “Offer DHS assistance to enhance Pakistan’s border security and [seek] GOP views on an arrangement under which DHS would provide the Government of Pakistan (GOP) with technology to access and analyze Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data on passengers flying to and from Pakistan, in return for DHS getting access to the data.

What is API and PNR?

Advance Passenger Information is, in simple terms, information about the passenger who is traveling overseas. Suppose you are traveling to UAE, a country that requires API from Pakistani passengers, you will need to provide the following data about yourself prior to boarding your flight:

  • Full name
  • Passport number, issuing country, and expiration date
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality

This information will be connected to your PNR, which is a unique ID identifying you as a passenger on a flight. This information will be received by your destination country so they could investigate your past criminal history (if any) before they allow you in that country. To do that, they will use yourAPIinformation to search their own country’s database and check if you are clean or not. Without connecting API to the database of a host country, API is useless.

United States DHS, in the cable under discussion, wanted to provide us with such a tool which would connect API to NADRA database for the purpose of analysis, and in theory, give us a heads-up if a terrorist was traveling to or from our country. The United States, it seems benevolently, wanted to give us this technology for free – with only one catch: they would be able to access the data from our side. And not just the data of passengers traveling from the US to Pakistan or vice versa, they would be able to access data of passengers from all countries going to and from Pakistan. To make it all useful, the API technology would have to be connected to NADRA database, therefore, in a way US would also get an interface to NADRA database.

Why was US pushing for API technology?

The US was pushing Pakistan to install this technology for the obvious reason that they wanted the data. It is a good rule-of-thumb to remember that if something supposedly valuable is being given to you for free, you must be doubly suspicious.

But there was something else that was going on at that time.

At that time Pakistan was in the process of phasing out an old system provided to NADRA by an American company for a similar purpose. That system was called‘Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES). NADRA aimed to phase out that system by 2011 and instead install a new indigenously made one: Integrated Border Management System (IBMS).

PISCES was installed in 1999-2002 when Lt Gen (r) Moinuddin Haider was the Interior Minister under Musharraf’s govt. But listen to this: While IBMS cost us around Rs421 million to implement, PISCES was free. Why?

Here is a clue: PISCES was made by US firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Booz Allen Hamilton was Snowden’s employer for those of you who can’t recall where you heard that name. Booz Allen Hamilton was an NSA contractor and that is enough to reach the conclusion that PISCES had a backdoor that allowed US to access all Pakistani data connected to it. Moinuddin Haider rubbished, at that time, any claims that PISCES had a backdoor – but in hindsight after Snowden leaks, it is highly improbable that PISCES was clean. Another clue is that US State dept wanted to give us $42 million (free) to upgrade and maintain PISCES and abandon all attempts to make something similar on our own. Here is an Express Tribune article (which was affiliated with New York Times at that time) telling us why IBMS sucks in comparison to PISCES.

The shady dealings with PPP govt of Asif 

When US was pushing API on us, we were getting rid of PISCES, and I suspect, it was because of this exact reason API was being pushed on us.

How did the PPP-led govt react to that? While the behavior of PPP govt remains highly suspect, we can see in the same cable that Rehman Malik was being very slippery in his dealings with Ms. Napolitano.

According to the cable: On API/PNR, Interior Minister Malik assured the Secretary privately that the GOP wanted to be helpful, but in the meeting with his subordinates asked for information on model agreements, legal frameworks and precedents the Ministry could use to persuade those in the GOP worried about privacy rights and possible legal challenges in the courts to API/PNR data sharing. The GOP agreed to host future DHS visitors to continue discussions on API/PNR and border security. It is obvious that while Rehman Malik was being cooperative in front of US govt, he also wanted to protect his own behind and was trying to be extremely careful.

Not only that, the PPP govt at every turn tried to get something out of the US in return and in a way put a price on the private data of Pakistani citizens. In every meeting they tried to couple PNR/API issue with: Pakistani textile exports to US, non-stop PIA flights to US, and a few hundred Pakistani students receiving scholarships in the US. Rehman Malik also tried to make excuses by saying that overreaching Pakistani judiciary would never allow such a thing.

On the other hand, Napolitano was even more stubborn:
Secretary Napolitano responded that the United States now wishes to deal with non-stop flights separately from the issue of API/PNR data exchange, and explained that enhanced access to API/PNR data is of direct benefit to Pakistan as well as to the United States. Prime Minister Gilani echoed Zardari’s comments on PNR, stating that, although the Interior Ministry is considering the U.S. request, to “do the whole world” will be difficult. To Gilani’s statement that Pakistan had been promised non-stop flights in return for buying Boeing aircraft in 2004, Secretary Napolitano was clear that flights will be dealt with as a separate issue, not as an exchange.

While in all these discussions the pretext is Pakistani border security, it is obvious that both parties know exactly what is going on: That the US wants Pakistani data, and Pakistan, while not unwilling to provide access to that data, wants a ‘consideration’, i.e something in return. And without any potential political blowback.

Make no mistake, at no point did Rehman Malik or Gilani or Zardari say an outright “NO”. They wanted to put some sort of price on this invaluable data, something that would protect them from political repercussions. However, it seems that these discussions did not bear any fruits at that time. We don’t know the reason – there is no cable that follows up on this one.

Enter another shadowy company: International Identity Services (IIS)

On September 6, 2011, The News published a report that NADRA was out sourcing its UK operations to a private company. This news in itself would’ve been outrageous but the details were even more so: IIS was headed by an unnamed person with a criminal history. Not only that, but NADRA officials maintained that NADRA was working with the company since 2009, when in fact IIS was created the very same year, and maybe for the very same purpose.

IIS was formed in 2009, and closed its operations in just 5 years.
IIS was formed in 2009 and closed its operations in just 5 years.

There could be two reasons for such a discrepancy: Either some officials at NADRA or Interior Ministry were planning to receive kickbacks from that company made by someone close to them, or this company was a front for NSA/CIA/GCHQ. IIS, even more suspiciously, stopped its operations in 2014 – in just 5 years and disappeared off the face of this earth.

Is NADRA data safe?

In short: NO, NADRA data is not safe. Even one outsourced company or country that can access NADRA database through any interface can potentially steal the whole database. They might not even have to steal because we have people in our government, supposedly custodians of our national interests, willing to sell such invaluable national asset such as the database of the whole populace in exchange for pennies then all bets are off. We do not know, and we may never know, how much of our data has been compromised. But one thing we know for sure is that we cannot trust our government, elected or otherwise.

One thing we see in the cable is that Rehman Malik and Co were afraid of public outrage. When this cable first surfaced, there was little to no great public backlash. If there is no adverse reaction, future governments may get bold. Let’s make sure that there is no such misunderstanding between public representatives and the public. Wikileaks has given us another chance to consider our reactions against those who claim to represent us but actually do not. Let’s give it to them.

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Waqas Ahmed

Waqas Ahmed

Waqas Ahmed is Editor, Digital Media, at Daily Pakistan Global. You can reach him at waqas@dailypakistan.com.pk

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NADRAGate: The terrifying cable that should not be ignored by Waqas Ahmed

 NADRAGate: The terrifying cable that should not be ignored  

by  

Waqas Ahmed

Daily Pakistan

 

Cablegate

In 2010-11, Wikileaks released a trove of classified US govt data which consisted of communications between Washington and her embassies worldwide – this was called Cablegate. Cablegate consisted of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables – an overwhelming amount of data. In the same year (2011) Pakistani journalists published a story about one cable of particular interest: #09ISLAMABAD1642_a, classified ‘secret’ by US govt.

There was some noise about this cable back then, but the public quickly forgot it and it remained forgotten till a few days ago when Wikileaks tweeted about it and reminded us.

This particular cable details a series of meetings held in 2009 between the then Interior Minister of Pakistan, Rehman Malik, the President of Pakistan, Asif Zardari, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gilani with US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano. The purpose of these meetings, from the US side at least, was to “Offer DHS assistance to enhance Pakistan’s border security and [seek] GOP views on an arrangement under which DHS would provide the Government of Pakistan (GOP) with technology to access and analyze Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR) data on passengers flying to and from Pakistan, in return for DHS getting access to the data.

What is API and PNR?

Advance Passenger Information is, in simple terms, information about the passenger who is travelling overseas. Suppose you are travelling to UAE, a country that requires API from Pakistani passengers, you will need to provide the following data about yourself prior to boarding your flight:

  • Full name
  • Passport number, issuing country, and expiration date
  • Gender
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality

This information will be connected to your PNR, which is a unique ID identifying you as a passenger on a flight. This information will be received by your destination country so they could investigate your past criminal history (if any) before they allow you in that country. To do that, they will use your API information to search their own country’s database and check if you are clean or not. Without connecting API to the database of a host country, API is useless.

United States DHS, in the cable under discussion, wanted to provide us with such a tool which would connect API to NADRA database for the purpose of analysis, and in theory give us a heads-up if a terrorist was travelling to or from our country. United States, it seems benevolently, wanted to give us this technology for free – with only one catch: they would be able to access the data from our side. And not just the data of passengers travelling from US to Pakistan or vice versa, they would be able to access data of passengers from all countries going to and from Pakistan. To make it all useful, the API technology would have to be connected to NADRA database, therefore, in a way US would also get an interface to NADRA database.

Why was US pushing for API technology?

US was pushing Pakistan to install this technology for the obvious reason that they wanted the data. It is a good rule-of-thumb to remember that if something supposedly valuable is being given to you for free, you must be doubly suspicious.

But there was something else that was going on at that time.

At that time Pakistan was in the process of phasing out an old system provided to NADRA by an American company for a similar purpose. That system was called ‘Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES)’. NADRA aimed to phase out that system by 2011 and instead install a new indigenously made one: Integrated Border Management System (IBMS).

PISCES was installed in 1999-2002, when Lt Gen (r) Moinuddin Haider was the interior Minister under Musharraf’s govt. But listen to this: While IBMS cost us around Rs421 million to implement, PISCES was free. Why?

Here is a clue: PISCES was made by US firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Booz Allen Hamilton was Snowden’s employer for those of you who can’t recall where you heard that name. Booz Allen Hamilton was an NSA contractor and that is enough to reach the conclusion that PISCES had a backdoor that allowed US to access all Pakistani data connected to it. Moinuddin Haider rubbished, at that time, any claims that PISCES had a backdoor – but in hindsight after Snowden leaks, it is highly improbable that PISCES was clean. Another clue is that US State dept wanted to give us $42 million (free) to upgrade and maintain PISCES and abandon all attempts to make something similar on our own. Here is an Express Tribune article (which was affiliated with New York Times at that time) telling us why IBMS sucks in comparison to PISCES.

The shady dealings with PPP govt

When US was pushing API on us, we were getting rid of PISCES, and I suspect, it was because of this exact reason API was being pushed on us.

How did the PPP-led govt react to that? While the behavior of PPP govt remains highly suspect, we can see in the same cable that Rehman Malik was being very slippery in his dealings with Ms. Napolitano.

According to the cable: On API/PNR, Interior Minister Malik assured the Secretary privately that the GOP wanted to be helpful, but in the meeting with his subordinates asked for information on model agreements, legal frameworks and precedents the Ministry could use to persuade those in the GOP worried about privacy rights and possible legal challenges in the courts to API/PNR data sharing. The GOP agreed to host future DHS visitors to continue discussions on API/PNR and border security. It is obvious that while Rehman Malik was being cooperative in front of US govt, he also wanted to protect his own behind and was trying to be extremely careful.

Not only that, the PPP govt at every turn tried to get something out of the US in return and in a way put a price on the private data of Pakistani citizens. In every meeting they tried to couple PNR/API issue with: Pakistani textile exports to US, non-stop PIA flights to US, and a few hundred Pakistani students receiving scholarships in the US. Rehman Malik also tried to make excuses by saying that overreaching Pakistani judiciary would never allow such a thing.

On the other hand Napolitano was even more stubborn:
Secretary Napolitano responded that the United States now wishes to deal with non-stop flights separately from the issue of API/PNR data exchange, and explained that enhanced access to API/PNR data is of direct benefit to Pakistan as well as to the United States. Prime Minister Gilani echoed Zardari’s comments on PNR, stating that, although the Interior Ministry is considering the U.S. request, to “do the whole world” will be difficult. To Gilani’s statement that Pakistan had been promised non-stop flights in return for buying Boeing aircraft in 2004, Secretary Napolitano was clear that flights will be dealt with as a separate issue, not as an exchange.

While in all these discussions the pretext is Pakistani border security, it is obvious that both parties know exactly what is going on: That US wants Pakistani data, and Pakistan, while not unwilling to provide access to that data, wants a ‘consideration’, i.e something in return. And without any potential political blowback.

Make no mistake, at no point did Rehman Malik or Gilani or Zardari say an outright “NO”. They wanted to put some sort of price on this invaluable data, something that would protect them from political repercussions. However, it seems that these discussions did not bear any fruits at that time. We don’t know the reason – there is no cable that follows up on this one.

Enter another shadowy company: International Identity Services (IIS)

On September 6, 2011 The News published a report that NADRA was out sourcing its UK operations to a private company. This news in itself would’ve been outrageous but the details were even more so: IIS was headed by an unnamed person with a criminal history. Not only that, but NADRA officials maintained that NADRA was working with the company since 2009, when in fact IIS was created the very same year, and maybe for the very same purpose.

IIS was formed in 2009, and closed its operations in just 5 years.
IIS was formed in 2009, and closed its operations in just 5 years.

There could be two reasons for such a discrepancy: Either some officials at NADRA or Interior Ministry were planning to receive kickbacks from that company made by someone close to them, or this company was a front for NSA/CIA/GCHQ. IIS, even more suspiciously, stopped its operations in 2014 – in just 5 years and disappeared off the face of this earth.

Is NADRA data safe?

In short: NO, NADRA data is not safe. Even one outsourced company or country that can access NADRA database through any interface can potentially steal the whole database. They might not even have to steal because we have people in our government, supposedly custodians of our national interests, willing to sell such invaluable national asset such as the database of the whole populace in exchange for pennies then all bets are off. We do not know, and we may never know, how much of our data has been compromised. But one thing we know for sure is that we cannot trust our government, elected or otherwise.

One thing we see in the cable is that Rehman Malik and Co, were afraid of public outrage. When this cable first surfaced, there was little to no great public backlash. If there is no adverse reaction, future governments may get bold. Let’s make sure that there is no such misunderstanding between public representatives and the public. Wikileaks has given us another chance to consider our reactions against those who claim to represent us but actually do not. Let’s give it to them.

Waqas Ahmed

Waqas Ahmed

Waqas Ahmed is Editor, Digital Media, at Daily Pakistan Global. You can reach him at waqas@dailypakistan.com.pk

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REHMAN MALIK’S GHADARI & NAWAZ SHARIF’S MEMORY LOSS: Pakistan never responded to US efforts for repatriation of Dr Aafia to Pakistan: Diplomatic Sources

20110509
 
 
 
 
American diplomatic sources informed that in the past US had contacted number of times with the government of Pakistan for repatriation of Dr Afia Siddiqui to Pakistan but never receive any response adding that Dr Aafia could be returned to Pakistan if Pakistan signs Int’l prisoners’ agreement for exchange of Dr Aafia. According to a private TV channel report, US Diplomatic sources had informed government of Pakistan after court’s verdict in February 2010 that repatriation of Dr Aafia to Pakistan was possible and for the first time Interior Minister Rehman Malik was contacted that if Pakistan signed world agreement for prisoners exchange then it could be decided, how Dr Afia could be repatriated to Pakistan, however, government of Pakistan didn’t respond from April 2010 to July 2010 to solve the issue. It is also worth mentioning that a visiting American delegate that had arrived for strategic dialogues in month of July had also indicated that Dr Aafia could be repatriated to Pakistan. American Diplomatic sources clarified that if till now Dr Afia had not been handed over to Pakistan and even in future it didn’t happen-government of Pakistan would be responsible for it. When Interior Minister Rehman Malik was contacted he stated that the government had done its best to get Dr Aafia back from American detention, however foreign office has been responsible to sign world prisoners exchange agreement.
 

Federal Investigative Agency

Before independence, the security forces of British India were primarily concerned with the maintenance of law and order but were also called on to perform duties in support of the political interests of the government. The duties of the police officer in a formal sense were those of police the world over: executing orders and warrants; collecting and communicating upward intelligence concerning public order; preventing crime; and detecting, apprehending, and arresting criminals. These duties were specified in Article 23 of the Indian Police Act of 1861, which (together with revisions dating from 1888 and the Police Rules of 1934), is still the basic document for police activity in Pakistan.

 

The overall organization of the police forces remained much the same after partition. Except for centrally administered territories and tribal territories in the north and northwest, basic law and order responsibilities have been carried out by the four provincial governments. The central government has controlled a series of specialized police agencies, including the Federal Investigative Agency, railroad and airport police forces, an anticorruption task force, and various paramilitary organizations such as the Rangers, constabulary forces, and the Frontier Corps.

Benazir Bhutto appointed Rehman Malik as chief of the Federal Investigation Agency which then launched a secret war against the Islamists, which amounted to a direct attack on the ISI. The Pakistani military was equally dismayed by reports of FIA contacts with the Israeli secret service, the MOSSAD, to investigate Islamist terrorists. The FIA leadership under Bhutto also angered Islamist elements because they allowed the extradited Ramzi Yousaf to the US for trial on the New York Trade Centre Bombing. One of the first acts of President Leghari after dismissing Benazir Bhutto on 05 November 1996 was to imprison the Ghulam Asghar, head of FIA, suspended on non specified corruption charges, and Rehman Malik, Addl. Director General FIA, was also arrested.

The Federal Investigation Agency conducts the investigations on receiving reports of corruption, either through the P.M.’s Accountability and Coordination Cell or directly from the public. After the investigations, the cases are referred to the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner for trial by the Ehtesab courts. However, the Chief Ehtesab Commissioner, Mr Mujaddad Ali Mirza, has complained that the Federal Investigation Authority and the Anti-Corruption Police have failed to cooperate with the Commission.

 

Sources and Methods

  • Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency plans to set up counter-terrorism unitThe News, Islamabad, July 22, 2002
  • The Aristocrat and the General, Indranil Banerjie, SAPRA INDIA MONTHLY Bulletin Jun-Oct 1996

 

 
PTT ARCHIVES:
 
September 25, 2010, 2:43 pm

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Terrorism Promoter Rehman Malik: Whose Buffoonery Cost 2,050 Pakistani People’s Lives Last Year

 Rehman Malik: national embarrassment or treasure

From the Newspaper | | 2 days ago
 
In a country where 2,050 people were killed last year in more than 1,500 bombings and terror attacks, few people would dare describe Pakistan’s struggle against a dizzying array of militant groups, separatist insurgents and powerful crime syndicates as a roaring success.

Yet its colourful interior minister, a man described by one commentator as Pakistan’s answer to London’s mayor Boris Johnson – a hugely famous politician who not everyone takes seriously – does just that.

“We have given a good beating to the terrorist,” Rehman Malik, 61, told the Guardian in December. “We have been able to break their back, we are in a position now to fight, to fight and fight.”

It is the sort of statement his detractors say blithely ignores reality, but that has also helped turn the career bureaucrat into one of the country’s best known politicians.

Whether or not the public believes domestic security has improved will be a key issue as the Pakistan People’s party (PPP) prepares to face the electorate in a few months’ time.

Critics say the government’s poor record on basic competence issues is epitomised by Malik, who many feel owes his position more to his usefulness as a master of political dealing rather than any great ability to administer internal security.

For many Pakistanis the interior minister, with his designer ties and purple-hued hair, is the face of the government: he is the only senior member of the bloated federal cabinet to have remained in post for the entire time the PPP has been in power, eclipsing even the prime minister.

He has found fame through his almost daily television appearances, usually made at the scene of the sort of catastrophic attacks that would end the career of a home secretary.

Everyone has a favourite Malik moment. For some it was when he said a spate of sectarian murders in Karachi was the handiwork of angry wives and girlfriends. Or there was the press conference in 2011 when he revealed to a country still reeling from a brazen Taliban attack on an important naval base in Karachi that the militant assault squad were “wearing black clothes like in Star Wars movies”.

An important trip to India in December produced a crop of gaffes that prompted fury in the Indian media. “The best thing would be to put Scotch Tape on his mouth to stop him talking,” said one former Pakistani diplomat, who claims to be a long-standing friend of the minister.

“Malik has his own irrepressible style of expressing himself, which may not be one of the most sophisticated in the world, but I think serious, sober Indians understood that.”

EMBARRASSMENT OR TREASURE: Malik’s status at home – somewhere between national embarrassment and national treasure – seems secure, however. “People love him,” said Murtaza Chaudhry, producer and host of the news comedy show Banana News Network (BNN) in which an actor playing Malik regularly lampoons the minister. “He is by far the most favourite character with the viewers.”

Recently his character was shown proudly presenting a flimsy construction of cupboard boxes that he boasted was of his own design, cost “only $60,000” and could protect the public from explosions.

Malik, who seems to relish the limelight, says he enjoys watching the comedy shows. He says there is no point complaining, or challenging reports of his many famous statements, which he says are always “twisted” by the media.

However, Chaudhry said that BNN had received a 10-page letter from Malik’s lawyer objecting to the mockery.

Malik’s defenders say he is much more capable and intelligent than his public personality suggests. “To some extent it’s just a ploy to disarm everyone,” said Mehmal Sarfraz, a Lahore-based journalist who credits the minister with successfully countering some threats in areas where civilian rulers have influence (many Pakistanis believe only the country’s powerful military has the ability to tackle militancy).

“Half the time he doesn’t believe what he is saying is true, he’s just saying what he thinks the public wants to hear.”

But critics find the buffoonery far from amusing. “He makes these statements which never make any sense, so no one can take him seriously,” said Aftab Sherpao, a former interior minister who was once a leading PPP figure. “When he gets up in parliament people just mock him – they laugh and jeer him.”

One analyst suggests the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is the nearest equivalent politician in the West because he is “kind of goofy, kind of silly but people like him”.
Malik thinks he is more of a Mandelson, a Churchill, or a Miliband (“the one who was British secretary of state, not the present one”). “But I would not want to be compared to any of these people,” he said after reeling off more names, including a US president. “I consider myself a worker, a party worker – that is all.”

Despite his protestations of humbleness, the elected senator has achieved a remarkable, and to many perplexing, level of power in government. Neither a lifelong politician nor a member of the landed gentry, he rose from within the bureaucracy despite being what one commentator called a “lower-middle class outsider”.

His break came in the 1990s when he was spotted by Benazir Bhutto. At the time she was PPP leader and in her second term as prime minister and he was an official at the Federal Investigation Agency.

POLITICAL FIXER: He made himself an indispensable political fixer, particularly when Bhutto was living in exile in London in the late 1990s (until recently Malik was a British citizen and still has family and major business interests in the UK).

His influence over President Asif Ali Zardari is less clear. Some believe Malik has potentially damaging information about the business activities of a couple who have faced a number of overseas legal cases and investigations into major corruption allegations.

Cynics say his job is not to grapple with crime and terrorism, or reform the country’s dysfunctional interior ministry, but to help Zardari do whatever it takes to hold together his fragile governing coalition.

Malik is regularly dispatched to Karachi to smooth things over with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement whenever the party flexes its muscles.

On Jan 2 he even shuttled to London for a last-minute meeting with Muttahida supremo Altaf Hussain after he announced his party would participate in the anti-corruption protests in Islamabad orchestrated by Tahir-ul-Qadri. “As far as Altaf Hussain is concerned, Malik is just an errand boy,” said Aftab Sherpao.

Nonetheless, it will be on domestic security – as well as the dire state of Pakistan’s economy – on which the public are likely to make their judgment in the coming months.

According to the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, the level of violence has dropped since the government came to power in 2008. But the past few weeks have seen an attack on a major airport, the assassination of leading politicians, and the kidnapping by the Taliban of 23 tribal policemen – 21 of whom were lined up on a cricket pitch and killed.

Although sectarian attacks remain a huge problem, claiming 537 lives last year and injuring many more, Rehman Malik takes credit for “creating harmony between Sunnis and Shias”.

“In my five years there is hardly killing, mass killing, of Sunnis and Shias,” he said, weeks before two dreadful mass-casualty attacks on Hazara Shias in Quetta this year that claimed almost 200 lives. He says his strategy of “psy-war” – making sure the security forces have “a good backing and personal patting” – is paying off.

“It is important because your people are demoralised in war, you have to give them hope,” he said. “Wherever there is someone killed you must have seen I’m going to the field, in minutes I am there on the scene, supervising the whole situation.”

He has upset people with his enthusiasm for shutting mobile phone networks in major cities at short notice in an attempt to thwart terror plots; although the tactic seems to work.

In September he pushed for a national “Love of the Holy Prophet” day in response to public anger over a crude YouTube video that mocked Islam. What was meant to be a peaceful day of protest was taken as a state-sponsored opportunity for deadly rioting by religious extremists.

One diplomat, who was on “lockdown” as teargas drifted across the embassy walls from pitched battles between demonstrators and police outside Islamabad’s embassy quarter, recalls being phoned by a delighted Malik reporting how well he thought it was all going.

“I let them protest, but from a certain point I will not let them go further,” Malik said. “I ordered the [teargas] shelling. Had I not been there they had full programme to barge in [to the diplomatic enclave].”

BNN is working on a special series dedicated just to Malik, who will appear as a caped superhero. In Chaudhry’s favourite scene, Malik will be seen rushing into a burning building – but only to rescue a dog.

In the background people throw themselves from windows to escape the inferno as Malik delivers his catchphrase to the waiting TV crews: “Everything is under control.”

 

 

By arrangement with the Guardian

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PAKISTAN’S DREAM TEAM

 

 

PAKISTAN’S DREAM TEAM:

Unknown-15

ASIF ZARDARI : President for Life & Minister of Finance & Governor State Bank of Pakistan

NAWAZ SHARIF : Minister of Religious Affairs & Right Wing Fanaticism with Special Portfolio of Minister for Bhagoras & Duffers

RAJA RENTAL PERVEZ: Minister for Car Rentals, Power Rentals, Truck Rentals, Call Girl Rentals, Dishonesty Rentals, and Selling Your Soul to the Devil Rentals

MALIK RIAZ : Minister for National Accountability Bureau & Chief Justice Designate

“DR” REHMAN MALIK : PRIME MINISTER & Minister for Education & Promotion of Languages with Special Emphasis on English & Urdu

ALTAF HUSSAIN: Minister for Food, Fire Arms & Population Control

MULLA FAZLUR RAHMAN: Minister for Diesel, Petroleum, & Women

SHARMILA FAROOQI: Minister for Jails

AMIN FAHIM: Minister for Anti-Corruption, Excise & Taxation & State Loans

ASHFAQ PERVEZ KAYANI ; Minister For Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms

BILAWAL BHUTTO: Minister for Sports & Entertainment & Juvenile Affairs

FIRDOUS ASHIQ AWAN: Chief of Staff Pakistan 

 

 

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