It rained on Thursday at last, and then on Friday too, signaling the beginning of the monsoon. That means we are in for a sweaty Eid, and maybe a wet one, but it probably will not be as sweaty as the days before the monsoon broke. While we were in our homes, safe from the rain, one couldn’t help thinking of the Internally Displaced Persons of Operation Zarb-i-Azab, who’re probably trying to fast too. Since they don’t have vehicles, they’re probably likely to be avoiding one of the banes of Ramazan, which is the extreme rudeness of road users in the last hour before iftar, in that mad rush to get to it. Being driven apparently crazy by thirst does not forgive the bad manners shown at this time, so the purpose of fasting may have been defeated. But I’m sure the average IDP would prefer some road rudeness to the loss of one’s home.
Just as I’m sure most Gazans would much prefer being rendered IDPs to being killed, as over 300 already have been. It seems the Gazans are being made to pay with their lives for the rockets being fired off by Hamas. It’s interesting that Pakistanis are paying attention to what is being done there. It seems Israel has once again conspired against the Pakistan Army by launching an operation to kill Palestinians at the same time as the Pakistan Army is engaged in Zarb-i-Azb. All those demands that the Pakistan Army should answer the cries of help should not fool anyone. Look, the Palestinians are not offering any compensation for the cut-off of US aid we have already been threatened with, if there was no operation in North Waziristan. And we are already under pressure because the USA is going to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, and stop committing to pay Pakistan money for the safe passage of goods. And here we have some nitpicking bureaucrats who don’t see the wider picture, or the national interest. An American major was once again arrested at Islamabad Airport for trying to board a plane with a weapon. If he had done so, the heavens wouldn’t have fallen. He was bailed out quickly, but he shouldn’t have been put through the indignity. I mean, what is the point of paying all that money if a major can’t carry bullets on board a plane?
Contrast this do-nothing attitude with the demand by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan for money to fight the Boko Haram. And that’s even though Nigeria is oil-rich. Boko Haram has kidnapped hundreds of girls, and they haven’t all been found by the Army, which has lanced an operation to find them.
If we asked the world community to give us money, it would reconcile us to Mian Nawaz wearing as foul a hat as President Jonathan sports as his trademark, and to Ch Nisar whipping out Rehman Malik’s crushed velvet flat-cap this Eid. Maybe that’s why we need to have such a fuss over the IDPs: so that we can ask for money for them. As General Musharraf said about Basant, so long as the country gets foreign exchange…
We’re continuing to get drones flying over areas where the operation is being carried out, but the militants are still more of a threat than them. FC personnel and policemen were killed in Peshawar, in what seems to be the first response by the militants. While their bases are being hit in Waziristan, they are striking back in Peshawar. Hard to see the pattern, except that militants will use whatever they can lay their hands on. At the moment, though, it seems they might not know who their political masters are, there having been a ‘vote audit’ agreed on. Imran Khan has been so impressed by the term that he has used it, in his latest demand, for a complete ‘voters’ audit’ on last year’s elections. The term itself is a fancy phrase, a circumlocution, if you will, for ‘recount’. So we will mark our Independence Day with a rally in our capital at which Imran and Dr Tahirul Qadri will demand the same thing as Abdullah Abdullah is doing in Kabul.
Dr Qadri is campaigning for a reform of the system, and should pay attention to what is happening in the Modeltown enquiry. The government plans an Independence Day parade, and though there’s no chance that the parade and the rally will coincide, it seems PTI is as involved in conspiring against the Army as Israel. So maybe Dr Qadri will concentrate on the enquiry, in which the drivers of the senior police officers on the scene have been fingered. The drivers are clearly taking the fall for their bosses. Someone seems to have worked out that they can claim they were firing to protect their bosses.
Another enquiry that seems to be running into trouble is the one into the shooting down of a Malaysian Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight. It seems dangerous to get on Malaysian airliners these days. Hardly had the furore died down over the crash into the ocean of a Beijing-bound flight, that this happened. I only hope the police don’t feel challenged by the Ukrainian militiaman who managed to kill 20 times more people than they did in Model Town.
But maybe we should look harder at our policemen. Apart from offing PAT activists in Modeltown, they also took down the terrorists near Raiwind, where we not only have our Prime Minister but also our Chief Minister. There have been many criticisms made of Mian Nawaz having made his kid brother Chief Minister, but I don’t think anyone realised their natural ties posed such a security risk.