The questioning of Imran Khan’s political credentials comes because he called the replacements for the PSL final ‘phateechar’ and ‘railu kattay’. Critics do not seem to realise that his cricketing vocabulary is being challenged. Actually, this should answer those who think that he has been sidetracked into cancer and corruption instead of cricket. It seems that when in a really stressful situation, he will go back to the game.

Cricket has woven itself into the very fabric of the language. The words are strictly related to the game. Not exactly divorced from the language, they can be understood by a non-cricketer. During the height of the Mike Gatting-Shakoor Rana controversy Sarfraz Nawaz, then an MPA, said about Gatting that he was a ‘thi’d-class tharra-level banda.’ This was delivered in the purest Lahori, but was an indubitably cricketing sentiment. Sarfraz was not just Imran’s predecessor in politics, but for a long time his new-ball partner. He was later replaced by Waseem Akram, another Mozangia, but one who has not stepped into politics.

The language of Mozang is closer to that of cricket than that of Imran’s native Zaman Park, simply because Mozang has more cricketers. So the language of cricket is based on Punjabi of a particularly deep-throated kind. But the language used by PML(N) MNA Javed Latif is not known, though it must be Majha Punjabi, he being from Sheikhupura. True, it was known that he abused PTI MNA Murad Saeed’s sisters in the course of some well-chosen remarks about Murad’s leader. Murad then physically attacked him, though it was not clear it was because his sisters were insulted or his leader.

Javed Latif has apologized, but someone should tell him never to insult someone from Swat, his sisters, or his party leader. And though much derogatory can be said about Imran for his remarks, calling him a traitor does seem a bit much. But then, Javed Latif is from Sheikhupura. Do people from Sheikhupura accompany verdicts of treason with remarks about people’s sisters? They don’t, but if they do, is that acceptable behavior? It might not be, but is beating people up?

And by the way, Imran has signalled the Supreme Court about the soubriquets he would use for the Supreme Court if its judgement in the Panamagate case does not go his way, which would be for the bench to order the removal of Mian Nawaz Sharif from the Prime Ministership and the immediate installation of Imran Khan.

Though the boycott of the Punjab Assembly by the Opposition does not have an overt connection with this, don’t tell me this isn’t in the mind of the Leader of the Opposition, the PTI’s Mian Mahmoodur Rashid. Punjab Speaker Rana Iqbal should console himself that his late father Rana Phool Muhammad’s fomula, “Say whatever you want, and then withdraw your remarks” seem to have guided Javed Latif. Of course, Rana Phool didn’t include violence in his equation.

The whole concept of a parliament is based on just that: speaking. Violence is not supposed to be a recourse. Only the Speaker is supposed to have any at his disposal, in the form of the Sergeant At Arms, and ordinary members can only appeal to the Speaker to use him. And while the Speaker does not normally have jurisdiction over what members might say or do to each other outside the House, he does control the building, indeed the whole premises.

There was a joke about what would happen if one member murdered another on the floor of the House. He would draw the ire of the Speaker for ‘unparliamentary behaviour’, who would order the Sergeant At Arms to remove him from the House if he showed any inclination to flee. But he couldn’t be arrested from the premises unless the Speaker allowed it. Indeed, the local police might register a case, but no investigating officer could examine the crime scene unless the Speaker allowed it.

One of the pluses from the ‘Phateechars versus Railu Kattas’ match was the wish expressed by Qatar that the Army provide it the security it needs for the 2022 World Cup. The Pakistan Army might be attempting a Pivot West, away from India, towards Afghanistan where militants are to be taken down, and providing security to the Gulf, whether it be to the Holy Mosques, or to sports events. Imran could be accused of trying to sabotage this, because obviously the Army could not provide security for phateechar or railu kata players, now, could it? And Qatar might not have realized how the PSL final was secured: not by shutting down the city, but putting the fear of God into its residents. And here you have militants going on shooting sprees in Kabul hospitals disguised as medics. Well, no militants were disguised as phateechar players, not with the Army around.

While it does not have any players, it seems South Korea had a phateechar President. Impeached in December, now president Park Geun-Hye has been removed from office, because an aide raised funds for her charitable foundation. One hears that former President Asif Zardari was upset at this mistreatment of a former head of state, as was Mian Nawaz, but most upset was Imran, who had not yet held a sit-in against her.

Speaking of phateechar governments, how would Imran characterize Narendra Modi? Yes, the one with the railu kata wins in UP and Uttar Khand states, with Congress with phateechar wins in Punjab and Manipur. And the Iron Lady of Manipur got only 90 votes in her constituency, even though she had come off a 16-year hunger strike to contest. She had been protesting the Indian Army’s Special Powers, giving its members immunity from prosecution, which they used to rape Manipuri women. One view of her crushing loss is that the Manipuri people are OK with their Army.