City Notes

Militants seem to be active. There were 13 people killed by the van that rammed into a crowd in Barcelona. The attack was claimed by Daesh. The same Daesh as COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa warned the interns at ISPR against when he visited it.

That warning didn’t resound as it should have, for there were two killed and eight hurt in the town square of Turku, Finland, by the practitioner of another Daesh method, the knife attack. However, the COAS seems to have the rights of the matter, and the relevance of his remarks will emerge when we have another sectarian attack.

It’s perhaps an academic question, but do militants dislike Shias more, or non-believers? I mean, do militants in the West kill non-believers because they can’t find Shias, or do militants over here kill Shias because they can’t find non-Muslims. And it does seem hard lines to die as a substitute.

Not that there is much to be said for militants, but at least they’re against human beings. The death in Charlottesville, Maryland, was over a statue. There was a statue of General Robert E. Lee which was to be removed. There was a cacophony of protest from white supremacists, Ku Klux Klansmen and Neo-Nazis against this, who claimed that history was being rewritten. They held a demo. There was a demo to prevent that demo. The two demos clashed, and a woman was killed.

Trump didn’t react with sufficient horror at the death, and indeed suggested that there was something to be said for both sides. The storm that broke over his head led to the sacking of Steve Bannon, the White House counsel who had earlier been an alt-right icon. The Klan, supremacists and neo-Nazis are part of the alt-right, which is not just an important part of Trump’s support base, but also provides what passes for intellectual fuel in the Trump Administration.

Bannon’s sacking was not just because of Charlottesville, but part of a pattern. He was the fifth top aide to go since Trump took office in January, the others being National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, press secretary Sean Spicer, chief of staff Reince Priebus and communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

Another unorthodox death at the hands of a militant was the Istanbul cop who was stabbed repeatedly by a suspect who was about to let off a bomb. It just shows that the Turkish police is not as wide awake as ours. Here, the suspect would end up dead without a hair on the head of any cop being harmed. Indeed, the Counter Terrorism Department offed five suspects. It’s efficient, you see. No need for a trial where a clever mouthpiece can get you off. The only problem is, there is no arrangement for the policemen concerned to be paid anything.

Payment is made essential, especially now that Independence Day has got into the hands of the fashionistas. Though several young men died executing wheelies, upholding the principle that Independence From Life, not just Good Manners, was being celebrated, this year their sisters dressed in various combinations of green and white. In fact, presumably because they didn’t burn their clothes, the colours of Independence kept on being shown several days after. Even so, a positive trend. The danger will come when these young ladies, who presently primly sit on the backs of motorbikes, egg on the riders to execute wheelies, or when they throw crackers into open car windows. Still, almost a year off, aren’t we?

These days, metaphorical crackers are being exchanged between Umar Akmal and Micky Arthur. The former claimed the latter abused him. As the national coach, Arthur has got the PCB backing him. Is there a language barrier at work? Does Akmal mind not understanding what Arthur says? And maybe Arthur’s South African accent may have made a few well-chosen remarks about the need for fitness sound like snide barbs about teeth. And here we have the PCB chief Najam Sethi not just on the verge of bringing an International XI here, but also Sri Lanka. One hopes we don’t have the same lockdown of Lahore as there was for the PSL final, but it seems that militants are still around.

This proliferation of militants pleases both India and Israel. It allows them to scare the USA into thinking that Kashmiris and Palestinians asking for liberation are actually dangerous extremists. Witness the ban slapped on Hizbul Mujahideen by the Trump Administration. Right. So Burhan Wani was a terrorist, but Klansmen are not. I suppose Narendra Modi will not object when Indians are sent back from the USA, which will happen if Trump and his ilk keep getting elected President. We will be in the same boat, by the way. So watch out.

The future holds odd things. When Mian Nawaz Sharif, as sitting PM, went before the JIT, did he imagine that, as a dismissed PM, he would refuse to go to NAB investigators when he was called? Anyway, that’s what happened.