City Notes

Nothing more illustrates the truth of the saying that a mouse was dug out of a mountain than Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf going to court, and not being indicted. If it had been an ordinary person, someone who had not received any sort of commission, let alone been COAS, nor a commando, he would have found himself hauled up by the local police, and received the personal attentions of the SHO. But General Musharraf was ensconced in the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology.

I still don’t know why he is trying to avoid the indictment read out to him. I wonder if it has anything to do with the anger and unrest in the Army supposedly caused by his being tried. The Army connection is presumably why he got a get-well bouquet from the current COAS, Gen Raheel Sharif. As General Raheel is not a commando, I assume the bouquet is to a former COAS. I don’t suppose his being a former President has anything to do with anything. You don’t have any bouquets from the COAS going to either Rafiq Tarar or Asif Zardari, though hopefully they will enjoy good health, especially Asif Zardari, who was given a medical certificate by a psychiatrist before his election.

Speaking of Zardari brings up his son, who is unburdened by medical certificates. Perhaps that is why he was engaged in the Sindh Festival. True, it is good to see the head of the PPP take an interest in such a cultural event. It shows the average jiala that the son takes after his mother. She was known to take an intelligent interest in culture. Culture and the life of the mind is not something that marks out Asif Zardari, except for medical certificates from head doctors. In fact, Mian Nawaz Sharif has got a needlessly bad press for being so un-intellectual. It is worth noticing that PPP attacks on Mian Nawaz’s brain have gone down since Zardari became leader of the party. While Benazir had some claim to being brighter than him, Asif Zardari is under no illusions. Let’s hope his son doesn’t develop any.

But as for the trial of Pervez Musharraf, someone should get his lawyer to stop appearing on talk shows. While he compared his client to Kala Gujjar to the entire press, it was in a talk show that he gave the examples of ‘Havildar Allah Rakha’ and ‘Subedar Chiragh Din’ while talking about the Army Act. Now while his client may be called ‘Kalay Shah’, he retired as a full general, not a havildar or subedar. Just as Ahmad Reza Kasuri maligned a fine body of men in the shape of Gujjars, he has done the same to havildars and subedars. It is almost as if he has retired Army chiefs confused. Ashfaque Pervez Kiyani was the son of a subedar, not Pervez Musharraf. One hopes Kasuri is not angling after Kiyani as a client. Kiyani faces no charges, after all. But that could change. After all, when Musharraf retired, he faced no charges. However, the events which were to lead to charges had happened. That should let out Kiyani.

Unless of course there is a Taliban government. One of the first signs of that happening has been the very fact of talks, just as there used to be talks between the colonial power and the local independence movement, back in the 20th century. One of the most famous examples was the Mau-mau rising in Kenya, which led to that country’s independence under Jomo Kenyatta. Recently, Kenyatta’s son was elected President of Kenya. His name? Uhuru, which means ‘freedom’.

The question is not what would happen to General Musharraf if there was a Taliban government. We know what they intend from the bombs planted on the roadside of the route from his Chak Shahzad farmhouse to the court.

Still, the credit goes to Ahmad Reza Kasuri for the time he prevented his client from being indicted. That indictment should have taken place before the operation, but it will occur on March 22. That will be too long to start the operation, so that means the operation has started with disheartened troops, who will know that an ex-Chief is being tried for high treason. Perhaps worse, they will have learnt that their own former Chief doesn’t trust the AFIC to carry out his angiography. Worst of all, they know that a former commando has developed heart disease. If that isn’t disheartening, then what is?

The Special Court was not impressed, it seems, by Kasuri’s hectoring. Another lawyer from Kasur, Mahmood Ali Kasuri, was also reputed to be very loud. Once, it is said, a judge asked him to speak less loudly. That happens to lawyers. Only Kasuri was not just in a different courtroom, but a different building. My younger son, by the way, speaks as loudly as Ahmad Reza, even though he is not from Kasur. But then, he is eight, while Ahmad Reza is 70. There’s nothing wrong with being 70. But one should not behave like eight.