City Notes

It was Eid. The whole country shut down for a week, and you are probably reading these notes on the first day after the Eid holidays, which you probably spent in the Village. If you took leave for Monday, you could go off on leave from Friday the 1st, and take the whole of the next week off. And you would reach for work today, the 11th, but late.

And what would you have done in The Village? There are lots of things to do, but one activity that didn’t make it into the social media was taking selfies with buffaloes. Well, I didn’t see any, but the media was littered with reports of deaths and injuries due to wheelies. Now wheelies were supposed to be something you did to celebrate independence, not just from the British, but also from good manners, even from life itself. But now it seems that people go from the Great Wen (the Big Bad City, Lahore) to the rural areas, where they spread the wheelie gospel. For as long as they survive.

Wheelies weren’t the only way to die this Eid, it seems. Eid shopping could be fatal too. At least it was in Baghdad, where there was a blast in the Karrada area, the toll reaching 292 by Friday. And another 37 people were killed at a Shia shrine in the city on Friday. And then there were the attacks near Shia mosques in Jeddah and Qatif to accompany that on policemen breaking their fasts at the Masjid-i-Nabwi. Five cops were killed in Madina. The bomber at Jeddah was a Pakistani, it seems. Right. That means that as soon as you have an act of terrorism, you blame the militants, and then the Pakistanis.

You get the same cat-and-mouse sort of thing in Bangladesh, where the militants have been duly blamed for the attack on a café in the diplomatic area in which 20 people, mostly foreigners, were killed. The attackers, all duly killed, included the son of a ruling Awami League official. They were said to have been radicalized into such a violent action, by listening to the speeches of charismatic lecturer Zakir Naik. Naik is an Indian, but he’s a Muslim, and in Narendra Modi’s India, that means a Pakistani. Wonder if he can be blamed for Burhan Wanis’ radicalization? Wani was a Hizbul Mujahideen commander, who was killed after leading the Indian security apparatus a merry chase for years in Held Kashmir. Clashes after his funeral left 10 dead and more than 200 injured. Even if Naik is cleared for being responsible for Wani, no one will blame the Indian occupation for radicalizing him.

One man who wasn’t afraid of being identified as both Muslim and Pakistani was Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi, who has passed away. He was buried with full military honours, and the service chiefs were at his funeral prayer. I wonder why? Perhaps they saw in him how politicians were really supposed to behave, while leaving more important matters to those who know about them, the men in uniform. His death meant that the whole nation was in mourning as Mian Nawaz arrived. He had arrived after spending Eid in London. Does he think of it as his Village? Are the bronze lions of Trafalgar Square any substitute for the buffaloes of Jati Umra?

Well, amidst all this mayhem Muslims did have one Eid. The attacks in Saudi Arabia took place as the Saudi Ruet committee was meeting, and deciding that they didn’t see any moon. Initially, the Ruet Committee over here didn’t see any moon, but after some initial dramatics by Mufti Muneebur Rehman, gave Pakistanis permission. If Mufti Muneeb throws a few more fits as he did on Eid night, there will be questions asked about whether there should be a Ruet Hilal Committee. And anyway, if the Saudi Ruet Committee is going to decide, why bother? Maybe for India and Bangladesh, who marked Eid on Thursday. In fact, the common Eid was a once-in-30-years happening, so don’t get too used to it.

Anyway, just before Eid, the police was up to its old tricks in the USA, with cops as far apart as Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Minneapolis, Minnesota, gunning down black men. Then there was a protest in Dallas by African-Americans, where four white cops were killed by a sniper. The sniper was killed by a bomb on a robot.

Like the Orlando massacre, the political benefit will go to Donald Trump. Trump has legal troubles over his Trump University, which he has tried to tackle by insulting the judge for being Hispanic. It’s not as if the Democrats are much better. They’re about to nominate Hilary Clinton, even though the FBI basically said that as Secretary of State, she and her lawyers lied across the board about the classified emails on her personal computer, but they wouldn’t prosecute.

Well, it seems British politicians are suffering the results of Brexit well before the UK even applies to implement the referendum. Not only has Prime Minister David Cameron resigned, but he won’t be succeeded by London ex-Mayor Boris Johson. UK Independence Party chief and leading Leave figure Nigel Farage has also resigned, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is also facing anger. Indeed, only SNP chief and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, seem unmoved. Now even Mian Nawaz has left London.