Islamabad, August 9 : Rehman Malik and Farooq H. Naek, the two key members of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani's cabinet, were kept out of the critical coalition talks on President Pervez Musharraf's impeachment and the restoration of the sacked judges.
This was the first time that Malik, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Affairs, was not involved in important consultations.
According to The News, Malik, was kept totally out, while Naek was called when he was needed and then told to leave.
The perception that Naek had misled Gilani into signing the notification to appoint eight deposed Sindh High Court judges also played a major part in keeping him away from the make or break negotiations.
Malik was the principal interlocutor of the Pakistan Peoples Party in secret talks with the Musharraf government when Benazir Bhutto was alive. In fact, Malik served as the main contact between her and the government.
In all the six rounds of talks that Zardari and Nawaz have held after the Febuary 18 general elections, Malik was a key aide to the PPP co-chairman.
Malik enjoyed almost equal status with Zardari when the PPP came in power.
His importance was further reflected with his presence at the venue of a not-so-secret meeting between Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto in Abu Dhabi that sealed a deal between them.