As if the deposition of Muhammad Morsi as Egyptian President wasn’t bad enough for Munawar Hassan’s health, Jamaat Islami Bangladesh ex-Amir Golam Azam was sentenced to 90 years in jail, not given the death sentence, as he was 91. Remember, he is an ex-Amir, not the current one. He has been sentenced after being found guilty of war crimes. At that time (back in 1971), he was not yet 50, so he was at least physically capable of committing them, even if he isn’t now.

Well, at least Bangladesh has him around to try. If we were to try those responsible for the 1971 War, I don’t think we could put forward defendants of Golam Azam’s stature. I mean, he had been head of the Bangladesh Jamaat from 1969, even before there was a Bangladesh, right down to 2010, when the present Amir, Matiur Rehman Nizami, took over. Not only are the participants in those events no more, but they keep on passing away. I wonder how many of those who deposed before the Hamoodur Rehman Commission are still alive, let alone able to stand trial? By now, we must be getting towards pretty junior people. Is it symbolic or something that Hamood himself has long passed away, not to mention all of those officers who deposed before him?

At the same time, the trials going on in Dhaka are showing an inconvenient truth: neither Pakistan nor Bangladesh, nor even India, has absorbed the events of 1971. Until Pakistan, and India as well, try and absorb the 1971 War, there will be a relevance to such exercises, even though the country which it led to, is itself 41. In the time since Golam Azam’s alleged crimes, the Jamaat Pakistan has had four Amirs, with all three of the ex-Amirs having now passed away.

And while it might seem that Bangladesh haul up those accused of war crimes, it seems we in Pakistan cannot, for there is still discussion, but no action, about what has been described as the worst disaster to Pakistan since that self-same 1971 War. Which is an acknowledgement that it was a military disaster. For the last 41 years, all we’ve been hearing is how it was the politicians’ fault. Not the military’s. It was politicians wearing military uniforms who surrendered to Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora at Paltan Maidan, I suppose. Whatever the case, no one has been made to answer for that, so why should anyone suffer merely for leaking the Abbottabad Commission report?

I suppose one way out would be to have a truth and reconciliation commission, as Nelson Mandela had in South Africa. It’s just a wild thought, but maybe he’s not dead yet, though 95 and hospitalised, with his medical details in court, because Pakistan is still to adopt his idea. Syed Munawar Hassan, the current Jamaat Pakistan Amir, was out of the Jamiat, of which he had been head, and was in the Karachi Jamaat when Golam Azam became Bangladesh Amir, but he obviously does feel strongly about this attack on another party which has had more electoral success than the Jamaat. I mean, let’s face it, Morsi won the election in Egypt. The Jamaat has no hope of winning a similar election in Pakistan. Or even of getting the same proportion of seats as the Bangladesh Jamaat. There’s been one candlelight vigil by the Jamaat for Morsi, though there hasn’t been any for the Bangladesh convicts.

I suppose they have a different standard of proof over there. I mean, where were the confessional statements? No one would be convicted over here unless he confessed, a confession that would result from an interview with a DSP or inspector with a paunch, three chins and fallen arches. One advantage of such an interrogation would be that, apart from war crimes, Golam Azam would have confessed to all the unsolved dacoities, burglaries and other thefts in the district from 1971 to date.

I suppose Bangladesh, which is overflowing with rivers, would be particularly prone to cattle theft. You know, stealing the cattle, then making them swim to you dera. Or that of the rasagir, or rather the harbourer. Golam Azam has not confessed to harbouring. Nor did Delwar Hossein Sayeedi, the first Jamaat Bangladesh leader to be convicted, this February. That is a serious lacuna in the case against him. Presumably, this will be rectified in the trials that we have been promised.

Speaking of water, we’ve been having a lot of rain, I wonder if it has anything to do with the relief fasters always seem to get from the weather. Not only is it not as hot, but more rain means more electricity, as the dams fill up.

It seems that we are heading towards a wet presidential election, and the PPP was first into the ring, with Asif Zardari apparently having decided not even to contest. The interesting thing is that there will be no democracy in the country even if the PPP wins, because democracy means having a Bhutto relative as President or Prime Minister, and even if Rabbani wins, we wouldn’t have a Bhutto relative holding either post.