A tale of two sit-ins

Well, it seems the strictures that Mian Nawaz Sharif is so freely handing out about courts can’t be dismissed out of hand. Perish the thought it decided his case wrongly. But look at the strictures passed on the Army’s role in ending the Faizabad sit-in. Those strictures are unpatriotic and encourage the country’s enemies.

Funny, the sit-in ended after the federal Law Minister resigned. Another group struck, in Lahore, to make Rana Sanaullah resign. He didn’t, and the Lahore strikers have stuck it out until Eid Miladun Nabi. And then the Sindh High Court cancelled the death sentence of Shahrukh Jatoi for murdering Shahzeb Khan.

The lesson from Faizabad was to make a minister resign and lock down Islamabad. Also, the Army is not ready to fire on its own people. That’s a very noble sentiment, but how else is it to ‘aid the civil power’, which is one of the two functions prescribed for it by the Constitution? Next thing you know, the Army will let it be known that fighting is very naughty, and somebody could get hurt by all those weapons. The Indian Army should be so Gandhian, so committed to ahimsa, when killing people on the LoC.

Not just the Pakistan Army, but armies generally seem to be having a hard time. I mean, look at the sentencing of Col Gen (retd) Ratko Mladic to life imprisonment for his war crimes as a Republic Srpska commander in Bosnia for the Srebenica massacre. Then came the dramatic suicide in court of Gen (retd) Slobodan Prajlak, of the Croat Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina who tossed off poison as soon as the World Criminal Court announced its rejection of his appeal against his 20-year sentence for war crimes against Muslims. Those sentences were pretty heavy for both generals, now in their mid-70s.

China’s Gen Zhao Zhang was only 66, but he hanged himself in Beijing, because of his links with generals convicted of corruption, which had led to him facing investigation. As Imran Khan has taught us, accusation is guilt. Unless one is in the PTI. Or Shahrukh Jatoi.

Another general admitting guilt, though not offing himself, was Lt Gen (retd) Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Adviser who has admitted lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russian officials in December 2016, during President Trump’s transition, on the instructions of First Son-in-law Jared Kushner. One person who knows how Kushner might feel is Captain (retd) Safdar, who can tell him how it feels to be a co-accused along with one’s father-in-law.

Jared’s wife Ivanka Trump was meanwhile in Hyderabad at a trade fair. She stayed away from New Delhi, which has been declared the worst city in India for crimes against women. Funny though, the girl who was criminally assaulted by her family, including her father and brother, was not in Delhi, but Uttar Pradesh. She had run away with her boyfriend for the fourth time since July. Is honour killing better than ‘honour assault’? No comment, except to say that 88 schoolgirls in Arunachal Pradesh were punished by their teacher for mocking the headteacher by stripping them naked. Arunachal is pretty cold, but that would be the least of the ways this was wrong.

I also have no comment about the woman in Argentina who cut off with a garden shears the naughty bits of a visitor. He had come to ask her brother for some musical instruments. He and her brother were both in the same reggae/ska band, and he was in an ill-defined relationship with her. Hollywood predator Harvey Weinstein meanwhile is untouched by any of the myriads he seems to have harassed, even assaulted.

Another reason for not commenting is that I’m still recovering from my cataract removal-lens replacement. When I came out from the anaesthetic, my eyes were bandaged. For the time before the bandage was removed, I knew what it was to be blind. It was brief, but a number of activities were suddenly prohibited to me. Others were severely curtailed and others suddenly made lengthy and complicated.

I would not wish anyone to be blind, not even Donald Trump, who apparently not just feeds his own Islamophobia by watching hate-videos, but has created a storm by posting anti-Muslim videos from the Britain First party. British PM Teresa May has squawked at this, probably because that gave Britain First, which competes for the same vote as May’s Tories, free publicity.

At the end of this long weekend, we will have US Defence Secretary ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis in town. Schoolkids milked the Islamabad sit-in, because the two days of closure meant a two-day week, as Eid Milad was on Friday. But it seems that ‘Cool Cat’ Tillotson is about to get a permanent holiday, as he is to be replaced by CIA chief Mike Pompeo. What do the spooks call him? Pumped-up? Not ‘Pussy Cat’, surely? That would be like the PM’s statement: that we’ve now got surplus electricity.

When the President tweets hate videos, teachers in Texas try turning in special Muslim children to the cops, saying they said “Allah” and “boom”. The kid’s father said he couldn’t even talk. See if that stops Trump.

But that wasn’t the reason why the woman in Pindi Bhattian killed her three children, then tried to drown herself. She was saved when she tried to drown herself. Again, I have nothing to say. Except that the man who was set on fire in Nawab Town, Lahore, for stealing a cell phone, had committed a lesser crime. The burnt man was saved, but the scars probably mean he won’t be taking any more selfies for some time.

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