City Notes

The view that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed Mr Justice (retd) Jamshaid Ali Shah Chairman of the PCB, with a mandate to hold its elections, as a response to the Bangladesh Cricket Board’s suspension of all-rounder Shakibul Hasan for misbehaving, does not really hold water. However, the introduction of Mr Justice Shah into the whole affair does not hold water. We will not go into whether Mr Justice Shah, who is over 65, is old enough to supervise Misbahul Haq, who admits to 40, but you never know. It should just be noted that he is a new entry into the game of musical chairs that the PCB Chairmanship has become ever since Zaka Ashraf was sacked by the present government. Mian Nawaz has a liking for retired judges. He was the one who made former Chief Justice Naseem Hasan Shah Chairman, before giving the job to Saifur Rehman, a name which ex-President Asif Zardari can’t hear without trembling with rage, and which makes him say that all Swiss accounts are lies.

The cricket world has a thing or two to learn from football, where Sepp Blatter is still FIFA President. I suppose somebody like Srinavasan, who becomes ICC President despite all the match-fixing charges on him, is needed. Look at how far the Bombay bookies took him. But then, perhaps the true face of the game is Lou Vincent, the New Zealand Test player, who sang his heart out to the ICC anti-corruption squad. If that can happen to the gentleman’s game, imagine what could happen to a hooligan’s game, like football. Some careful betting could have made a lot of money on the hosts’ loss to Germany 7-1. Someone probably did. And some player, like Lou Vincent, will confess years from now, who paid how and to whom, in the Brazilian team.

Another context in which the Supreme Court and cricket came together is when Arsalan Iftikhar, son of the former Chief Justice, prepared to move against Imran Khan for disqualification from the National Assembly for having lied on his nomination form by not mentioning Sita White’s daughter as his child. That was because of Imran’s Tehrik-i-Insaf having protested so loudly against Arsalan becoming Vice-Chairman of the Balochistan Investment Board, which ended in his having to resign. The Tehrik-i-Insaf blamed Mian Nawaz for this, and will try to have him disqualified. It thinks Mian Nawaz is trying to stop Imran from marching on Islamabad on Independence Day. Well, anything to stop him doing a wheelie.

Meanwhile, there is no suspicion that Imran, or Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, or even ICC chief Srinavasan has anything to do with the flood of rapes in India which the National Crime Records Bureau says amounted to 93 being women raped every day there, with a total of 33,707 in 2013. What should worry the new PM is that in 2012, 24,923 women were raped, making for an increase of over 35 percent. According to these statistics, the most dangerous city was New Delhi, where 1,441 cases of rape were reported in 2013 compared to 585 in 2012, followed by Mumbai (391), Jaipur (192) and Pune (171).

He could probably blame Rahul Gandhi for sleeping on the job, but Rahul, who was asleep in Parliament, could probably say he was following the glorious tradition set by Pakistan’s Khurshid Kasuri and Syed Naveed Qamar, who respectively managed the foreign and defence portfolios while asleep.

I suppose Ashraf Ghani was not asleep when it was finally discovered he had been elected President of Afghanistan. His opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, second time unlucky, didn’t just not concede his defeat, but claimed to have won. A little like Imran Khan, whose biggest argument for rigging is that he lost.

That all seems a little distant when one sees how Palestinians are losing their lives, with about 150 killed by Sunday, in revenge for the three Jewish kids kidnapped and killed. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif reacted with a Facebook post, condemning the action. The reaction to the post, in the comments on it, was dual. First, that Pakistan should order in its Army. Second, that there was still too much loadshedding. Now that was clearly something being said by those opposed to Operation Zarb-i-Azb. To ask the Army to do anything for Palestinians when it is so busy is to betray the very ethos of Pakistan. ‘Pakistan First’ is supposed to be the watchword, isn’t it? A few have volunteered to go themselves. They seem to have the right idea. The Army should not have to do anything that might offend the Americans, should it?

Of course, if the USA is launching drone attacks while Zarb-i-Azb is on, and in the area of the operation, that shouldn’t be objected to. The writ of the state must be established. So who cares about a hundred-odd Palestinians? And if any of our armed forces are caught in the crossfire, at least there is the satisfaction that the USA is our ally. Even when forces from Afghanistan, which is occupied by the USA, are launching attacks and killing Pakistani captains.