In a surprise move, an under fire Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik announced his resignation from the Senate on Tuesday. The announcement follows the earlier suspension of his upper house membership by the Supreme Court after he failed to provide necessary documents proving he had given up his British citizenship.
Speaking to the media at Karachi’s airport, Malik said he had submitted his resignation to the party leadership and the prime minister of Pakistan. He added that he wanted to discontinue his job as adviser as well, but the prime minister did not accept it.
An emotionally-charged Malik said that he had wound up his business in the UK in 2008 and withdrawn his British nationality on the directives of former premier Benazir Bhutto and her husband President Asif Ali Zardari. “I will now accept whatever responsibility is given to me by my party,” he said. “I will now ask Nawaz Sharif’s son and others to inform people about their (dual) nationality and surrender the same without any delay,” he added.
Holding up papers purportedly proving his renouncement of his British nationality, Malik further declared: “All barriers have now been removed; I will now speak loudly in support of the dual nationality bill as well as for the rights of 1.2 million overseas Pakistanis. He emphasised that he wasn’t following anyone else’s dictates and was committed to working for the betterment of Pakistan. “I have asked my family to bury me in Islamabad if I die,” he added.
The interior affairs adviser also appreciated the support shown by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain in favour of the dual nationality bill, and strongly denied the bill was being presented in Parliament to appease him (Malik).
“My resignation will thwart the speculation that the legislation is meant to save me.” Malik also dismissed the opposition’s stance on the bill, saying, “There is no need for Nawaz Sharif’s party to support the dual nationality bill, the government will adopt the bill on its own.”
MQM chief Altaf also issued a statement on Tuesday praising Malik’s resignation. According to the statement, Altaf spoke to Malik on the phone and told him that his move had made all overseas Pakistanis ‘proud’ and termed it a ‘befitting answer’ to opposition parties.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2012.