City Notes

There was a shocking raid on Nine-Zero, which must be as famous as the White House or 10 Downing Street. The recovery of vast amounts of arms and ammo made one question the intelligence of those who had brought it there. One heard calls for NATO supplies to be recovered, but that’s not much of a defence. After all, even if what was recovered was not of NATO provenance, it was arms, not long-stemmed roses.

The raid proved that the Rangers either don’t have knees, or don’t care about what the MQM could do to them. As a matter of fact, there were no drills recovered in the raid. That means that the MQM preserves intact its ability to do to knees whatever it is supposed to do. And then there was the young MQM worker killed in the aftermath. Either the MQM killed him, or the Rangers did. The MQM said it sought no confrontation with the Rangers. Now what is one to make of that?

The MQM seemed to be using that unfortunate death against Imran Khan and the PTI, saying that it would not allow him to carry on the ‘politics of corpses.’ Imran came out using the raid to attack MQM supremo Altaf Hussain, who probably has other worries in the shape of the Imran Farooq murder investigation by the London police. The MQM was not down on Imran because of the ‘politics of corpses’, which is an old and time-honoured political tradition, but because he was rude enough to try doing so with the corpse supplied by some other party. The MQM perhaps shouldn’t object. The raid brought into the open something the MQM wanted hidden, its criminal connections. The MQM was last associated with criminality during the 1992 operation, when drills were actually recovered. However, knees kept on suffering, and the MQM came back. I won’t predict that it will come back. I don’t even claim it has gone anywhere. But have the basic problems making so many people support Altaf Bhai so zealously gone away? Until those problems go away, the MQM will be back, again and again.

That raid took some of the shine off the election unopposed of Raza Rabbani was Senate Chairman. It seems that the Chairmanship is limited to one tenure by the PPP. First was Farooq Naek, who became Law Minister, giving way to Nayyar Bokhari, who has given way to Rabbani. As the PPP is likely to lose the Chairmanship in the 2018 election, he is likely to continue the tradition of one-term Chairmen. Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri became Deputy Chairman, thus keeping up the tradition of giving that slot to a Baloch. The PPP was ruthless in sacrificing Sabir Baloch, whose term also ended. So did Bukhari’s, while Rabbani’s also will in 2018.Maulana Haideri’s will not until 2021. Which means that if he is not re-elected in 2018, the Senate will have an ex-Deputy Chairman in its ranks. Well, the National Assembly has survived having not Deputy Speakers, but full-fledged former Speakers in its midst. Even now, former Speaker Fahmida Mirza is a member.

The removal of both Nayyar Bokhari and Sabir Baloch was not just a drone strike for them, and the Senate, but also the PPP. But why look at figurative drone strikes, when we have real ones. There’s been a test the other day, which should show that the American refusal to give us the technology didn’t work. If it exists, it can be acquired. We know people can’t fly, right? So nobody tries to make them. But if the USA made somebody fly, then you can bet scientists in countries like Pakistan, Paraguay, Burundi and Tuvalu would try and succeed.

Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi has been released on bail. One Indian take gave a clue why he is being blamed. The reaction was that maybe now Pakistan would release the perpetrators of the Peshawar massacre. It seems that India has decided, long before any trial, that Lakhvi is guilty of the Mumbai massacres, and just as the Pakistani authorities are determined to punish someone, anyone, for the Peshawar massacre, India has decided to blame the Mumbai massacres on Lakhvi. Peshawar seems to be the reason why it has been decided to hang all death row convicts, not just those accused of militant acts. Excuse me, but how does hanging someone convicted of murdering a neighbor by hacking at him with an axe because of an ‘old dispute (probably to do with a buffalo theft), deter militants? Perhaps the same way raiding Ninety did, for among other things made possible by the Peshawar massacre, the raid was one.

Something tells me that there won’t be that much celebration of Pakistan’s win against Ireland, which meant that our boys won’t come home. Yet. Let it be said that the last time Pakistan won the World Cup, there would be an operation against the MQM. That makes the raid premature. There won’t be celebrations in Lahore either, not after the Yuhannabad incident. No one came out well. Neither the attackers, nor those who burnt them afterwards. That seems a bad way of taking revenge for Shehzad and Shama, the Christian couple burnt alive in Kasur. And what were the attackers taking revenge for?