It was perhaps because the members of the government were still diving in the $2.2 billion they had got for the 3G and 4G licence auctions, that the Islamabad police took the opportunity of baton-charging the ‘missing persons’ demonstration that attempted to march on Parliament. They managed to arrest Amina Masood Janjua, who has not only been protesting but also pursuing in court the case of her husband, a missing person, and who was arrested in July 2005. In all these years of protesting, she has also brought up their children single-handed. But now the Islamabad police has been unleashed on her.
The Islamabad police has done what the rest of the nation would like to do, because those who are protesting missing persons are merely criticizing national institutions and giving aid and succor to the enemies of the country. Such interference should not be tolerated. Meanwhile, the Cabinet was busy diving, as Uncle Scrooge did, into the piles of money they got from the 3G licences. Those licences presumably don’t represent interference in the work of national institutions. Money can only occasionally come from selling licences, but there’s a steady flow from missing persons, for whom good money has been collected.
One hopes they did not cut off the national institution’s gas or electricity, as they did that of PM’s House, along with the Presidency and a whole host of other departments. I mean, cutting off gas might not seem much of an imposition in summer, but it also means that the endless cups of tea that bureaucrats indulge in are no longer possible. Well, not unless naib qasids are sent out to cut wood from the Margalla Hills. That might solve the tea problem, but it will do nothing about the electricity which is necessary to allow bureaucrats to sit in airconditioners, thinking great thoughts about the running of the country. Or how next to make people go missing.
Major Amir has pulled out of the government committee on talks with the Taliban. That’s funny, because no one said he had been refused a cup of tea. Well, maybe he was feeling too hot. It’s interesting that PM House only had its gas and electricity cut off when the PM had gone out of the country. The present heat Wave is bad enough, but it is simply unthinkable without even a fan. So a taxpayer-paid stay in the UK makes sense.
Major Amir did not say he was pulling out to protest the blast at a madressah in Karachi. Presumably the blast played no role in the MQM joining the Sindh government. However, it did kill four students. The MQM had better watch out. Its workers may well turn up killed in encounters, but it should not protest as much as it does. After all, one hopes it would not like to interfere in the work of national institutions.
I hope that the national institution is not blamed for the death of the five members of a Pakistani family who were victims of a fire in Sheffield in the UK. It may or may not be ironic that they died while Mian Nawaz was in the UK, though far enough from Sheffield to escape any blame at all. It is also something of an irony that their death by fire occurred at the same time as Pakistan began its ordeal by heat, known to incorrigible optimists as summer, and which the more realistic citizens of the Raj called the ‘hot weather.’ While the phrase may be criticized for its literalism, it is also evocative of the reality, and also the heat. Have you ever noticed how many trips, on taxpayer’s expense, take place at this season in the year?
The heat might explain why an Egyptian court sentenced 683 Ikhwan activists, including its chief, to death for the crime of protesting against the government. They won’t be 683 executed. After all, 492 of the 529 sentenced to death in March have also had their death sentences reduced to life imprisonment. Indeed, at the time of the sentence in March, it was predicted that the sentences would be reduced.
Even then, Munawar Hassan had been replaced as Jamaat Islami Amir, so he wasn’t able to hold a candlelight vigil for them. No one has mentioned a candlelight vigil for the new batch. Does that mean that Munawar’s candlelight vigil was only meant for President Muhammad Morsi, or does it mean that that candlelight vigil had no effect on the Egyptian military regime? Here’s a thought. Maybe Munawar did hold a candlelight vigil. But no one paid any attention. That would be a tragedy. The tragedy is that of retirement. Which is something that General Musharraf has found out about after having been President once, and now not even being allowed to meet his mother. Not to mention being on trial for his life.
Perhaps we should be grateful for small mercies, like the rain that helped break the heat on Sunday. Of course, the relief was only temporary, but it was relief all the same. And maybe it can be used to persuade our rulers to cut short those trips in more hospitable climes.