Islamabad: Pakistan`s Interior Minister
Rehman Malik today said that he along with ruling PPP leaders
Sherry Rehman and Fauzia Wahab was on the top of the list of
persons who could be targeted by militants and extremist
elements like the Taliban.
"Today I am under threat. Number one is me, maybe next
time you may not find me here," Malik said while responding to
a debate in the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament
on the assassination of Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz
"Sherry Rehman is at number two (and) Fauzia Wahab is at
number three," Malik said, referring to political
personalities who faced threats from militant groups like the
banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
"We have the intercepts, but that doesn`t mean that will
scare us. It gives me more strength and we will fight till the
last Taliban is eliminated because that is the survival of our
country," he said.
Earlier, Malik was criticised by members of the treasury
and opposition benches for his handling of the security
situation across the country.
Bhatti, the only Christian member of the federal cabinet,
was gunned down by Taliban militants near his home here on
The banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan had claimed
responsibility for the assassination, saying Bhatti was killed
for challenging the country`s controversial blasphemy law.
Former minister Sherry Rehman, a close aide of slain
ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, has faced threats from militants
and extremists since she called for changes in the blasphemy
law last year.
The PPP lawmaker has rarely been seen in public in the
past few months. Rehman currently lives in the southern port
city of Karachi and has not attended recent sessions of
Wahab, also a member of the National Assembly, was
till recently the spokesperson of the PPP.
Bhatti was the second senior leader of the PPP to be
assassinated this year for challenging the blasphemy law.
Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was gunned down in
Islamabad on January 4 by a police guard who was angered by
the politician`s opposition to the blasphemy law.
During his speech in Parliament, Malik rejected calls for
his resignation in the wake of Bhatti`s assassination and
strongly criticised the PML-N government in Punjab for failing
to prevent a spate of terrorist attacks and to rein in groups
like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.
He said Bhatti should have availed the security that was
provided to him by the government.
"There wasn`t any security lapse on the part of the
government or the police. If the investigation teams find any
security lapse, I will resign from the ministry," he said.
Malik called for unity to protect the people and to
achieve lasting peace and prosperity in the country.
"Security and foreign policy are the two issues on which
we need to be united more than anything else. If you will not
join hands... you will have the Taliban here. You will have
these extremists in this country," he said.