GHQ is ‘out of bounds’ for Rehman Malik
By Syed Irfan Raza
ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik faced an embarrassing situation on Wednesday when he was not allowed to enter the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi during a ‘scheduled’ visit to attend ‘a ceremony’ to pay homage to the army personnel who died during the siege on Saturday.
Interior ministry sources told Dawn that the minister had gone to the GHQ to attend the ceremony and stayed there for a couple of minutes and returned to Islamabad after placing a wreath at the Yadgar-i-Shohada, which is far away from the main GHQ building.
Malik was not accorded protocol at the GHQ where he arrived at the GHQ to place wreaths on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
He placed flowers on the memorial after he was not taken to the main building, sources said. According to sources, there was no senior military official to receive the minister and he stayed there hardly for three minutes before returning to the capital.
Earlier, the interior ministry’s media team had invited reporters to attend a ceremony at the GHQ, where the interior minister would ‘unveil a plaque bearing the names of the slain military personnel’.
Journalists were later told that no such function would be held and they need not reach the venue.
Sometime later, reporters were informed that the minister had visited the GHQ and laid floral wreaths there.
Nawazish Ali, the interior ministry’s media director, said the minister stayed there ‘only for five minutes because he had to … attend the National Assembly session’.
An official of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the minister’s visit was scheduled and that he placed a floral wreath at the Yadgar-i-Shohada.
There was no explanation why the minister was not received by any senior GHQ official and for his brief stay.