Sindh Senior Minister Zulfiqar Mirza lashed out at Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik at the special Sindh cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Gilani on Monday, calling for Malik to be banned from entering the province.
Mirza’s flare-up came when he tried to talk about the devastation caused by the floods in Badin, at which point he was reminded by the prime minister that the meeting was called to discuss the law and order situation in Karachi. At that point, Mirza angrily denounced Malik, who was also present at the meeting, saying that Malik was not bothered by the violence in Karachi.
“Malik sahib is always pleading the case of one political party during every meeting and does not care about the law and order situation in Karachi,” said Mirza, alluding Malik’s efforts at reconciling the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) with the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
“All of this [violence] is happening in Karachi because of his [Malik’s] role,” said Mirza. “I request that a ban be imposed on his entry in Sindh.”
Mirza accused the interior minister of interfering in Sindh affairs. Malik, for his part, remained silent during the entire diatribe and instead relied on the prime minister defending his actions. Prime Minister Gilani said that Malik did not take any actions that were not authorised by him [Gilani] or President Asif Ali Zardari.
The PPP tried to downplay the fight between the two. Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said: “There was not any kind of fight, scuffle or exchange of heated words between them.”
Later, both Malik and Mirza were shown on state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV) hugging each other and being cordial. However, it was later confirmed that Mirza was summoned by the president to Islamabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2011.