What are we to understand by the embarrassments that have been faced in the middle of the Holy Month of Ramazan by apparently all of the major political parties? Probably the biggest embarrassment was suffered by the PPP, which saw the Prime Minister deprived of the protection he had against writing to the Swiss authorities when the Contempt of Court Act 2012 was struck down by the Supreme Court. That meant that Raja Pervaiz Ashraf  would have until the 8th of this month, just a couple of days away now, to work out how he could satisfy the Supreme Court, which insists that the letter be written, and the President, who insists that it not.
The PPP had to undergo the rebuke implied by the Supreme Court in striking down a law which the PPP had not only passed through both Houses of Parliament, but which had received the presidential assent, all post-haste. True, the Supreme Court does have the right to strike down laws which conflict with the Constitution, but if there was a conflict in this case, it should have taken into consideration the urgency of the legislation. However, the Supreme Court was not likely to pay much attention to any urgency when its product violated the Constitution.
Anyhow, the PPP was not the only party embarrassed. The PML(N) did not get to watch in quiet satisfaction. If President Zardari had to assure Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, and not because of the power at sehar and iftar promise, but because of the Supreme Court decision, then Mian Nawaz Sharif had also to engage in tense negotiations to get Sirdar Zulfiqar Khosa to withdraw his various resignations. It is not just embarrassing because Khosa is a former Governor, but because he is not only a sitting Senator elected only this year, but also the father of the MPA who filled in as Chief Minister when Mian Shahbaz was in search of a seat. That MPA has also resigned from the party.
Also embarrassed was Imran Khan and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, which is very hopeful it will do well at the next election, because of a PML(N) attack on its financing. The accusation is not to do with the PTI, but with the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust Hospital’s funding. The accusation is that the SKMTH has got investments abroad, including in an offshore company, and those investments included some in the Dubai real-estate bubble. That the accusations came during Ramazan was particularly painful to Imran, because this is when the SKMTH gets down to some serious fundraising.
How did the PTI get involved? Well, since a lot of the credibility Imran has for PTI members is because of the hospital, an attack on the hospital isn’t just an attack on the hospital, but on the party. Next thing you know, they’ll be saying that Imran was not captain for the 1992 World Cup. True, a lot of the people who will vote in the next election won’t have been born at the time Imran (and, I hasten to add, the rest of the Pakistan team) won the World Cup.
In a strange way, these worries came on the parties in Ramazan, as did the sentences to long stretches of jail time (25 years apiece) for a Pakistani couple, Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed, in Chester, the UK, for the murder of their daughter Shafilea back in 2003. Well, I know that British justice is supposed to be quick, but nine years for the trial court decision? That sounds like–dare one say it?–Pakistani justice. I know, killing one’s own daughter is unforgivable, but I can’t help thinking that this is a side of the UK that is swept under the carpet for the Olympics.
The conviction came after the parents’ surviving daughter bore witness against them. It wasn’t a pretty murder, not that any murder is. They suffocated her with a plastic bag. I don’t know when they went to the UK, but they certainly didn’t want to go there to kill their daughter. I assume they were economic migrants, who hoped to earn a better living for their family, a better living than they could have got in Pakistan.
It is not known what, if anything was done by the Englishman, Rehman Malik, in this case. Nor is it known what the convicted couple feels about having a dual citizen as in charge of Pakistan’s Interior Ministry. I assume they will spend Eid the way jialas will, mulling over grounds of appeal, of course in very different cases.
Of course, the Ahmeds, who killed their daughter because she was too Western, would like the British judiciary to operate like the Pakistani, and take a really long time to decide the appeal. But they should serve as an object lesson as to what might happen to economic migrants. At least that’s what She Whose Word Is Law says. And who am I to differ? Did I tell you she has put me on a diet? All the more reason not to differ.
Footnote to these notes: Though there have been rains, the monsoon has been largely a failure. These rains, which started on Saturday, are said to last until Monday, but if my impression of the Met Office is correct, of a lot of chaps with dartboards, don’t count on it.