It is with great difficulty and a heavy and burdensome heart that I lift my pen today to write a few lines in the memory of my late father, senior leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Abdul Rehman Malik. From a humble background, he rose to serve Pakistan in the capacity of the Director General Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), a Senator and as yet, the longest serving Minister for Interior, who left us bereaved forever on February 23, 2022.

His rise is a testament to what one man can achieve against the odds through the sheer tenacity of his will, through hard work, an unassailable adherence to his principles and an undying love for his country and its people.

I have yet not reconciled to the fact that my loving father is no more and I will no longer be able to bask in the sunshine of his affection. My heart is aching at being deprived of his blessings and of the unconditional love of a father who was always alert to our needs and happiness, even before we were aware of them. It breaks my heart that his grandchildren will never be able to meet the greatest man I ever had the honour of knowing. Apart from being a devoted father, he was a great and compassionate human being who always cared for others and who was always concerned about the problems of the poor and oppressed.

The ripples of the kindnesses he extended to people from all walks of life are only coming to me now, after his passing, as in his humility, never did he mention the help he had extended to those in need during his life. Never was his door closed to one in need.

He had a strong desire to help hardworking boys and girls, men and women, to achieve what they were capable of achieving, and not be hindered by societal and economic circumstances. He was so considerate about others that while admitted in the hospital, he forbade not only our family members from visiting him in the room, but even those who came to inquire about his health, even though he tested negative for coronavirus.

The memory that will haunt me forever but will also remind me of his care for others, was during his last moments before going on the ventilator, as his heart rate climbed higher than 170, as doctors were preparing to intubate him, as he was staring the possibility of death straight in the face, he had the care in his heart to push my outreached hand out of the way and forbade me from touching him to protect me from catching the virus that took his life.

The outpouring of nationwide grief and support that has come from all quarters is a touching reminder of his selfless nature. He was a symbol of strength and power, yet so full of love and humour: A truly great force, a soul that descends to this earth perhaps once in a generation.

My father’s most noteworthy characteristic was that anyone who came to seek his help or favour was attended to with great alacrity and while the applicant could have probably forgotten that he ever made a request, my father never did. He immediately tried to redress the grievance and would ask his staff to call the applicant to inform them about the status of his request. One thing that I have observed closely is that he never led an easy and comfortable life but rather always followed Quaid-e-Azam’s principle: ‘work, work and work’. Despite our requests to take a break and some rest, he gave preference to work. We, the family, would seek his attention while traveling with him, but found him doing one thing or another. He always valued time and never wasted a minute, but today, however, we wish he had spent his whole life just sitting and talking with us.

It is perhaps human to think one will have more time. More time to talk about the things left unsaid, to share the love still left unshared, and to do all those seemingly little things that inevitably become the big things, once the person has departed. I feel like he had dedicated his whole life to his country, his party, and the people of Pakistan, and that was always his mission. No force on this earth could have changed his unquenchable desire to bring justice to those in need of it.

He never desired more money than he needed. He was a simple man, with very simple tastes. Even when we managed to steal him away abroad for a rare short holiday, he would only ever eat daal and roti.

He would sit for hours in deep meditation, evaluating national situations in his mind, which it must be said at this juncture, was an incredibly sharp mind to the last—able to cut through the frill and pomp of any circumstance and tackle the issue at the root. This, combined with his years of experience as an investigator, and his wide breadth of knowledge of both national and international geopolitical issues and systems made him into the undeniable force of nature that he was.

As a senior FIA officer, he carried out innumerable difficult and extremely dangerous tasks and conducted many high-profile investigations and raids which required not only wisdom, intelligence and foresight, but also bravery. In 1995, the Government of Pakistan conferred upon him the Sitara-e-Shujaat gallantry award for his valour, and in 2012, the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, during his tenure as Interior Minister of Pakistan, in the most challenging time of terrorism, because instead of staying behind secure walls, he challenged the terrorists openly and fought against them on the front line. Whenever there was an unfortunate incident of terrorism anywhere across Pakistan, he rushed to the spot fearlessly. A day after the APS Peshawar massacre, I called him to inquire about his well being, but I found out that he was in Peshawar and was sitting with the families of the martyred school children, giving them support. When hundreds of innocent people were killed in a terrorist attack in the far flung, then tribal area, of Parachinar and all roads to the town were blocked, he requested the Air Chief for the provision of a helicopter and reached there, although his landing was not allowed due to threats on the ground. He could never remain away from his people and always took maximum risks to reach out to them in times of trouble.

The second part of this article will be published in tomorrow’s version of

The Nation on page 7.