Kashmir Day was marked, as usual, on February 5. When it was first marked in 1989 by a nationwide strike, no one imagined that it would still be marked more than 20 years later. On the Pakistani side, Benazir Bhutto was the Prime Minister of Pakistan, and she is now dead; Mian Nawaz Sharif was in his second chief ministership of the Punjab, and had not yet become Prime Minister. Qazi Hussain Ahmad, who threw the full weight of his party behind the strike, was still Amir of the Jamaat Islami. Aslam Beg was COAS, and Shamsur Rehman Kallue had been recalled from retirement to become DG ISI. Oh yes, Qaim Ali Shah was Sindh Chief Minister, and handling killings as now, though then there was none of the terrorism that he now faces. Indeed, no Kashmir Day has carried as much bloodshed as this one, with the blasts there having no parallel two decades ago. Well, there were blasts, but carried out by KHAD of Afghanistan, later WAD. Now we dont even have initials, just the word 'terrorists which is hardly satisfying. And then the violence was not sectarian, as now, even though, now that I look back, the ground was being prepared by the flooding of the area with sectarian literature. Its interesting, because theres no anti-terrorist literature now, to convince people that the War on Terror is a just war. All of that literature of two decades ago, and more, which was launched when the USA found Iran a stumbling block in its dominance of the Middle East, is now finding its realization in violence like that faced by Karachi. The violence on Kashmir Day had multiple results, which were different for different people. Sectarian organizations, which are now basically subsidiaries of Al-Qaeda, had people going to heaven. The USA found ammunition against followers of the same sect as Iran, which is these days a prime target. But India managed to have Pakistan in the news, not for its Kashmir Day strike, but because of the blasts, on Kashmir Day. Yet the people who were killed had not come to make any political point, but to mark the chehlum of the Imam. A very subcontinental thing to do, by the way, for only in the Subcontinent do we mark things like chehlums. The Imam was culturally an Arab, and the chehlum is not marked there. Im not sure, but I suspect the Lucknow Kings (who made up the only Shia dynasty outside Iran) of blowing up these commemorations, if not actually starting them. In Lahore, we know of the chehlum, not because we Lahoris are Shia, but because the commemoration falls on the same days as the urs of Data Sahib. For so many days, there was this constant parade of the louts of Lahore to Data Sahib, carrying an unusable sheet, in a blatant display of religiosity. But along with the urs was also the verdict in the Dr Afia Siddiqui case. Her guilty verdict was not so much about her as about the American justice system. And if it was about the American justice system, it was really about the capitalist justice system, and it was shown once again that not just the judges, but the jury is willing to give priority to reasons of state in such cases, if there are any. Of course, if there are no reasons of state, then the judge as well as jury will try and make sure that there is rule of law, but if there are Well, we should now know which must prevail. Of course, rule of law must clash with state necessity to make a difference, not party necessity. The problem in Pakistan is the clash with party needs is usually elevated to state necessity. Just like now, when the NRO acquittals, which are actually sordid lettings off, are being elevated into matters of high principle. The outgoing Punjab Chief Secretary must be envious, for his car killing a colonel on a motorbike was not elevated into a matter of high principle, which would have kept him in his job. Unfortunately, he has been replaced, proving the truth of the assertion that the graveyard is full of indispensable people. Remember, this is the Chief Secretary replaced when the province came under Governors Rule when the PPP tried to remove the Shahbaz government. Shahbaz survived, and brought back the Chief Secretary. If he hadnt, maybe the man would have been alive today. But no. He was fated to die, at the moment written, unless the Americans are supposed to ward off that death in exchange for cooperation in the War. The present CS should remember that he owes his job to the mortality of an ordinary Pakistani. Well not so ordinary because he was in the Pakistan Army. The CS, being as civilian as his driver, should be properly treated by the deceased mans batchmates, course-mates, or messmates or other-mates he collected in the course of his career.