City Notes

Javed Hashmi’s loss in NA-149 shows once again that he really needs an alliance with Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Every time they are in different parties, Hashmi loses. So now the real representative of Naya Pakistan won, Amir Dogar, the son of Salahuddin Dogar. Hashmi started out a long time ago, as President of the Punjab University Students Union back in the 1970s. So his political career is nigh on 40 years old. However, who is to say that Hashmi’s political career is now over?

However, the explanation offered by some, that the Accounts Group officer, Nabiha Chaudhry, who was burnt alive in the Academy hostel committed suicide in protest against his defeat, is wrong, and I doubt if she was auditing the accounts of a government organisation which led powerful officials to silence her. That possibility reminded me of another official who supposedly committed suicide in his room, the NAB officer in Islamabad who was in charge of the case of the RPPs, and then Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s involvement therein, who supposedly hanged himself from his fan. Fire by self-immolation is not unknown as a method of suicide, but it is rare. But if the alleged murderers did so over the collection of protection money, it is possible. The killers are probably the possessors of underweight brains capped by low foreheads. However, I can’t help regretting that she will be remembered as a suicide.

Meanwhile, a little earlier, a little further off, Dr Tahirul Qadri and the PAT rallied in Faisalabad. Dr Qadri promised a province in every division, which makes me remember the demand that every person should be a separate province. The rally was in Faisalabad, which is the home division of the Governor, who comes from Toba Tek Singh. Dr Qadri, it might be remembered, hails from Jhang, in the same division. That must be why he was so concerned about the flood destruction in the district’s Athaaran Hazari tehsil, and addressed a rally there. Being from the same division might explain why the Governor could talk to Tahirul Qadri when he came back from Canada this summer, and why he might be in trouble with the Prime Minister, but not why he wanted to play a more important role.

But why should he want a more important role? Isn’t being governor good enough? He should thank his stars he hasn’t caught the Ebola virus, which I suspect is just a matter of time. It’s already killed about 5000 Africans, and is now starting to spread among whites. There has been a death in Spain, and another in the USA. The spread is by international flights, and people lying about their contacts. So Pakistan should be ideal. Just slip money to the guy at the airport. And then die in Karachi. Remember, we have had over 200 polio cases this year, the most since 2000? And there’s no vaccine for Ebola fever, which has killed nearly 4000 people so far, mostly black Africans from the regions that were devastated from the 16th to 18th centuries by the slave trade.

Still, though the New World is under assault from the Old again, it seems that the New World is trying to play catch-up, in the form of Tiago Henrique Gomes da Rocha, the Brazilian serial killer, who has confessed to offing 39 people, including 16 women, in four years. This shows that the Rio de Janeiro police, which is busy in the election there, is perhaps more efficient than the Lahore police, which only caught Javed Iqbal, the serial killer who offed about 100 people, all kids, only because he went to a newspaper office to confess. That means the Rio police will probably not be as good as the Lahore police at managing the election result. The Brazilian presidential election has two women running, which makes the country a little like Bangladesh, apart from the names of both countries beginning with a ‘B’, though of course the Brazilians are now experiencing what the Bangladeshis have known ever since 1991. But what Pakistan has experienced right now is high-level transfers. In particular that of the Secretary Water and Power. Well, now that Lady Loadshedding has gone on pre-retirement leave, she would find the agony of knowing that all her interlocutors knew she was over 60 perhaps enough of a punishment for failing to help relieve people from this menace. But loadshedding took place under the previous Secretary, and will continue under the present one.

However, Loadshedding is not that bad these days, because the autumn is here, and the winter is looming. Fans are off, which means that when the power goes, we will only sit in the dark, not in the heat .Winter clothes are being brought out to the accompaniment of heavy sneezes, while sniffles are heard from every side.

I suppose it’s not so cold in Karachi, where Bilawal Bhutto came into his own, and held a large rally. Admittedly, the MQM and the PTI drive it into third place there, and one can’t help feeling sorry for the PPP, forced to launch a 26-year-old to compete with a 61-year-old for the youth vote. Remember, the PPP prided itself from the very beginning for its appeal to the youth, being led then by a 39-year-old.