Ramazan has come at last, and as scheduled, Pakistan is one day behind the Arab world, but Indonesia is not behind Pakistan. Of course, in Senegal and Gambia it’s still a hodgepodge, with some following one day, and some the other. I personally am waiting for the day some Qatari diplomat is the only witness for a moon-sighting. I know that there are strict rules for witnesses, but the last I heard, the witness must be a Muslim; and his nationality is not part of it. Of course, here we have a Ruet-i-Hilal committee which doesn’t accept the testimony of Pakistanis, as witness the rejection this year of all those witnesses from KPK. So my wait goes on, for the Ruet Committee to reject the Qatari diplomat’s testimony.

Before Ramzan came, though, Asif Zardari set the country about the ears, by uttering blasphemy against the armed forces. Two things were highlighted. First, that the Army was carrying out Operation Zarb-i-Azab, second that it was under attack from India, though those statements seemed to have died down after John Kerry made his phonecalls to Narindra Modi and Mian Nawaz. Some have pointed out that as President, Zardari had until recently been Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Others have noted that the raid by the Rangers on the Karachi Building Control Authority had yielded direct links to Zardari. The statement that Zardari got 70 percent of corruption money was manifestly incorrect. Zardari was Mr Ten Percent long before he was President. Of course, his interest in real estate in Karachi is very old. In fact, it goes back to before his marriage.

I wonder if the 90,000 acres of Sindh Forest Department land announced on Friday for Army martyrs’ heirs has anything to do with this. Does Zardari think that love of the land has anything to do with the soil itself? Does he think that that land will get misused? Does he know that E-7 Sector was allotted to the Army to build a new GHQ, but whereas the Navy and the PAF made new HQs in their allocated sectors of E-8 and E-9 respectively, E-7 was parceled into plots, and allotted to officers. Zardari should know. He and the late Benazir Bhutto had a house in E-7, from which she left for that fateful rally in Rawalpindi. Is Zardari relying on the conversion of that forest land to get him off the hook with the Army? Be that as it may, there’s already a sign of a backtrack, with PPP leaders saying that only military dictators were meant, not the currently serving brave and dedicated defenders of the country.

One of the main beneficiaries of PPP disarray, the PTI, has got troubles of its own, with Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed having recommended that several top PTI leaders be expelled from the party for their nefarious activities during the party elections. Those leaders include both Aleem Khan, who was elected Lahore President, and Pervez Khattak, the KPK Chief Minister. Wajihuddin, it might be remembered, was one of the Supreme Court judges sacked by Musharraf for not signing his PCO. If he had not been turfed out then, he would have become Chief Justice, and remained one for a long time. He also ran for President in 2013, and found himself beaten by Mamnoon Hussain. His recent decisions showed no sympathy for those who have had hair transplants (as has Aleem Khan, who has developed the habit of flicking his flowing locks with a shake of his head) or TB victims (as Khattak seems to be, judging by his skeletal looks and physique).

The government is not concerned, though Mian Nawaz has shown his disapproval of Zardari by refusing him a meeting. Zardari has to rely on the Central Executive Committee for support. It has other fish to fry. Well, fry is hardly an appropriate word, for the government was uncomfortably close to the Rawalpindi fire in which seven members of a family were killed. There was also loadshedding going on even though the Prime Minister has forbidden it at Sehr, Iftar and Taravih. The government also doesn’t know what to do with Save The Children, which it had banned, then unbanned. It almost seems as if it was imitating Modi, who banned 9000 NGOs for not declaring money received from abroad. Still, the problem is not foreign intervention, but making sure that the government is not silencing a voice not so much opposing it, as exposing it.

It’s like the USA banning all news organisations reporting the slaying of nine congregants of a black church by a white suspect in Charleston, South Carolina, for damaging the USA’s image abroad. The shooter was neither a militant nor a cop. It might be remembered that Muslims were shot in South Carolina recently, a couple and the wife’s sister. None of the news organisations thought to blame the militants.