City Notes

Now really, President Donald Trump is impossible. I’ve more or less given up. I’m now ready to undergo whatever questioning thrown at me by my children about news coverage. Not out-of-the-way and obscure news coverage, but mainstream US coverage, and of the President of the USA. Making the latest episode more bizarre, is the fact that at present the other party is the outgoing FBI Director, David Comey, whose claims about Trump in his memoirs are that Trump was concerned about an alleged ‘golden shower’ video tape the Russians might have had. Ewww! That’s not just embarrassing to have to discuss with kids, but disgusting. And it’s not to do with guilt or innocence. It’s to do with vocabulary and concepts. At least our politicians are not associated with golden showers. And though Imran Khan might not like it, there isn’t a single allegation against Trump of financial impropriety. Unless it was the money paid to the doorman of Trump Tower not to talk about the housekeeper by whom Trump is supposed to have had a child. The objection is not to the child born out of wedlock, but to the fact that the money paid to the doorman was not declared as a campaign contribution.

Politicians in India seem to be profiting by his example. The whole of India seems up in arms about the murder of poor little Asifa, aged eight, who was kidnapped, raped and murdered away from Jammu, in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Eight men were arrested, including four cops. There was a demonstration in their support, which included two AJK ministers from the BJP, which is in coalition there. Imagine two Punjab ministers attending a demo demanding the release of the killer of Zainab in Kasur, and you’d get an idea of what it meant.

Asifa is like Zainab in Kasur, showing that Indians can be fully as bestial as Pakistanis. However, it has not just become a communal case, with a Muslim victim and Hindu accused, but also a land grab case. The victim was a Gujjar, whose clan had grazed sheep on common land which some Hindus wanted to take over. The rape-murder, some claim, was meant to scare away the Gujjars, which is why there has been a heavy official tinge to those accused. But what price the case of Kuldeep Singh Sengar, the BJP legislator accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in Unnao in UP along with his brothers? Was he just following his leader Modi’s friend Trump?

Is that what is left to throw at our politicians? Well, the Supreme Court has decided that those found guilty of corruption would be disqualified for life. Well, that’s how the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution. The Calvinists in the PTI will be pleased. Except for those who would like the death penalty administered to Mian Nawaz Sharif. There is a constitutional prohibition on acts of attainder, otherwise I suppose Imran Khan would ask for one. Acts of attainder are passed by Parliament in which Parliament simply declares that a certain person should be executed. Parliamentary supremacy at its best?

Well, Parliament is not so supreme down in Sri Lanka, where it has been suspended by President Mrithipala Sirisena, because it failed to oust Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe. President Sirisena was over here last month as chief guest at the Republic Day parade. Seems he learned some very antiparliamentary lessons from Mamnoon Hussain. Asif Zardari has been giving his full support, just as he has been giving the South Punjab group of MNAs who have left the PML-N because they want to pursue the goal of a South Punjab province. By the way, support for President Sirisena is something on which Imran and Zardari find they agree, just as they did on the Senate elections.

Imran also doesn’t like the stories swirling about Trump. However, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman probably doesn’t mind. Apart from letting women drive, the first fashion show in Saudi Arabia has been held, while cinemas are opening, with Black Panther showing at one. Someone should tell him that President Trump doesn’t like that particular movie. At the same time, the Crown Prince should realise that Trump’s attitudes will come to Saudi Arabia if things go on at this pace.

Meanwhile, is that attitude leaking into US diplomats? One ran over a motorcyclist in Islamabad, and has not yet been released. And some Chinese engineers have been sent back home after beating up some cops in Khanewal. The Chinese were not being let out of their camp by the cops for security reasons. Knowing cops, they were probably trying to extract money, which the Chinese couldn’t afford.

Unfortunately, there was a purely domestic group, the Tehrik Labaik Pakistan, which thinks that blocking traffic is a cool thing to do. Now why does that make me think of the IPL team, the Chennai Super Kings, who have been driven from their home ground, playing their home matches in Pune, because of protesting fans letting snakes loose in the Stadium. Well, that beats Tomahawks raining down on you. But then, neither the TLP nor the Super Kings are suspected of using chemical weapons. ‘Gas attack’ does not refer to either flatulence or dyspepsia.