City Notes

Well, the PSL final was not so much about who won, as its being in Lahore. Was it in Lahore? I suppose so, but all I know is that they wouldn’t let me near the Gaddafi Stadium, so I’ll just have to take the organisers’ word for it. I wonder if the Pak Army intends to be invited to organize the next football World Cup? Well, at least the one in Qatar in 2022.

 I don’t suppose there would have been as much “foolproof security” if the Chief hadn’t been coming (in the end he decided not to.). You can’t blame him for not relying on the police, even though there were 7000 of them. After all, these were the guys who only had failed to stop a DIG and an SSP from being killed by a suicide bomber. If they can’t protect themselves, how can they protect anyone else?

One party that didn’t know what to say was the PTI. On the one hand, its leader, Imran Khan, knew that the final should be in Lahore. On the other, he didn’t want to admit that the government was doing anything right. However, the last word should be with the younger ones, whose schools declared another holiday, after the madness on Thursday, when ticket sales to the final led to long lines and gnashing of teeth as stocks ran out. They had got a holiday last week too, because of a terror threat.

Under the circumstances, I doubt if there’s much chance of international cricket being restored, especially with India being as powerful as it is. And then, today’s final would probably be no help. I know football has to deal with jobs, but this is a whole different level. If this is what winning the war on terror looks like, I’d hate to see defeat.

Lahori schoolchildren might have got holidays on successive weekends, but Islamabad schoolkids got one in midweek because of the ECO Summit. Judging by the PSL final, that was truly a miracle, with more troops deployed in Rawalpindi than in a military takeover. India had successfully scuttled the SAARC Summit, just by not attending. But Afghanistan’s not attending the ECO Summit didn’t prevent it from being held. Just as much as religious events are sweetened by lucky draws (usually for umrah tickets), Pakistan made the ECO Summit attractive by calling over the Chinese Foreign Vice-Minister. Of course, the Minister himself might have been more appealing, but still the Vice-Minister was good enough.

China is on a roll these days. It has still to overtake the USA, but it has begun to throw its weight around like a great power that has arrived. This causes India a lot of pain, not just because it has issues with China directly, but because it sees China as a friend of Pakistan’s. Pakistan should take warning from the USA, which became an Indian friend after decades of distance.

But India has still to handle Kashmir, the reason it has a problem with Pakistan. The fuss across the border about Gurmehar Kaur’s tweet about the Kashmir conflict, in which she said her father, Captain Mandeep Singh was one of seven killed when militants attacked a Rashtriya Rifles camp in Held Kashmir in 1999, leaving a young widow and a daughter, then a toddler, now an E.Lit major in New Delhi, who tweeted that war killed her father, not Pakistan. Of course, even in denial, Pakistan was made to carry the can. It wasn’t militants, but Pakistan.

She got into a flame war with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the BJP student wing, which members threaten to rape her and kill her (if not in that order, then charges of necrophiliac intentions surely lie). One of the many who tweeted against her was none other than Virendra Sehwag, the retired Test opener, thereby showing his potential as the Indian Imran Khan. Are Sri Lankan or Bangladeshi cricketers as reverent of uniforms? Expect the Indian team to do push-ups too.

One would sympathise with Gurmehar Kaur in her ordeal at the hands of the ABVP, and in having to grow up fatherless, but at least she had (and will have) a lifetime ahead. What about poor Ayesha, only four, burnt alive along with her parents in Mozang in an electrical fire? Her parents’s ages (45 and 38) say that she was a much-wanted child. Look at the end.

The world has gone on. As has happened 17 times since Gurmehar’s father died, the Oscars took place. One of the winners, for Best Supporting Actor, was Mahershala Ali, an all-American kid who attended college on a sports scholarship and graduated in mass communication. His win was a snook cocked at Donald Trump, for he is both Muslim and black, two of his bugbears. No Mexican was given an Oscar, an omission that will probably be remedied later on.

Of course, while blacks might be happy at Ali’s win, Muslims probably will not, for he is an Ahmedi. Muslims consider Ahmedis non-Muslims, a position included in Pakistan’s Constitution. However, that might be too great a subtlety for the Trump White House to understand. Or then, maybe he just acted well. Apart from being an Ahmedi and an actor, he’s also a rapper. That should make him really popular with Trump.

But did anyone notice that the Egyptian Court of Cassation (its Supreme Court) acquitted former military ruler Hosni Mubarak? He’s been in a military hospital since 2011. So it almost seems as if President Abdul Fatah Sisi took over get Mubarak acquitted. That would mean that Pervez Musharraf would need the military to take over to get him off the various cases against him. And with that thought, I’ll leave you.