Media man Malik: More than the average minister

One look at Rehman Malik's website will tell you that the minister is a super-star (with a few typos).

Shaheryar Mirza April 10, 2011
There are a few good reasons you would end up on http://www.rehmanmalik.com.

You may explore it if you enjoy the banality of a reporter’s life, the superficiality of a politician’s or the masochism of a news junkie's.

For those of you with a penchant for the absurd, allow me to take you on a short tour of the honourable (and flamboyant) Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s website.

I’m reluctant to call it official as the ‘contact us’ link just points towards the Pakistan Secretariat, which is one of the few non-residential buildings in Islamabad.

For any loyal Pakistan People’s Party politician, it is a requirement to permanently embed their picture next to one of the late Benazir Bhutto or the late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Malik follows suit; the minister’s website has pictures of President Asif Ali Zardari and BB emblazoned on the main page with hues of the party flag.

The camera loves Malik

The eye is then drawn to a slideshow of his Kodak moments with world leaders.

If these don't satiate your appetite for snapshots of Malik’s busy career, on the left is a rolling slideshow of his daily activities. Riveting stuff where he can be seen waving a paper in the Chief Minister’s house - not just any paper but a paper with names on it: target killers' names.

These are displayed in a style similar to photo kiosks “abroad” that let you capture quick-fire memories of you and your friends.

Join him, watch him, read him

Below the photo gallery is a feature which displays one of the more sensitive uses of public relations in Pakistani politics. Next to icons of your favorite social network, the words “join me, watch me, read me” can be found.

As Asad Hashim on Twitter noted, it’s got the same seductive pull of U2’s “Hold me, thrill me, kiss me, kill me”.

The bulk of the main page carries “news” items of Malik’s day to day activities. There are also links to Pakistan’s bureaucratic and security apparatus (or “black holes” as Stephen Hawking called them.)

Under the Ministry of Interior tab, the “organisational chart” is a helpful family tree of what the Ministry of Interior is responsible for, what its role is and what its achievements have been.

Oddly, the achievements list seems to go far and beyond the roles specified which speaks volumes about the man with iron fist.

He's got the look

In case you didn't get enough in the slideshows on the main page check out the picture and video gallery.

There is a reason why he is impeccably dressed all the time. From the hot pink to shocking green ties, he is a man whose considerable wit and charm is only outdone by his excellent dress sense.

The picture gallery has sub-galleries, much like a museum separates different eras and movements in art. Click on visits and summits, meeting with survivors (something that everyone in Pakistan is), meeting with excellences and “cops heads”. Wait. What? Meeting with excellences, and cops heads - a typo for excellencies is forgivable, but “cops heads” is barely passable.

The first thing that comes to mind is that this is a gallery of bad cops that were beheaded for poor performances. Additionally, “cops” is probably a word I wouldn’t be able to get away with on air so it’s not exactly the most eloquent choice for the Interior Ministry.

Aside from this you have “sad demises” where Rehman Malik can be seen in prayer mode. The video gallery is not as entertaining as the picture gallery, which has around 25 to 30 odd sub-galleries.

For the love of Malik

Much like the man himself, I give this website a nine out of a possible 10 points. Why? Because the site accurately represents a man who the media loves, loves to hate and a man who loves nothing more than being on the media and berating them all the while.

He is an enigma and his website is a guide to his galaxy. If you have never had the chance to catch his Vapid Response Unit swoop into Karachi to stop target killings, then this website gives a taste of what it’s like to be around the man.

To be perfectly fair, it could be useful for reporters.

Rehmanmalik.com is a portal of entertainment and an archive for a politician who is always top of mind.
WRITTEN BY:
Shaheryar Mirza A correspondent for The Express Tribune with a masters degree in journalism from the American University Washington DC. He tweets @mirza9
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

COMMENTS (10)

Pseudo my turtle | 9 years ago | Reply Sir, you probably wrote this sitting outside Anderson Hall waiting for the AU shuttle.
Raqib Ali | 9 years ago | Reply And I thought his 'comments' section will be for for our comments. It turned out to be columns of Urdu pro-government columnsts who had praised him!!
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