The country has one prayer to make at the Dargah of Khwaja Moeenuddin Chishti Gharib Nawaz at Ajmer Sharif, but it is unlikely that Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf made it. If given the chance, the nation would probably pray for an end to loadshedding. But the man who got the chance to go to Ajmer Sharif, Raja Pervaiz, must have gone to pray for success in the election. Gharib Nawaz may be a very powerful Pir, but if Raja loses, or rather if his party loses, that wouldn’t mean Khwaja Gharib Nawaz was not a powerful spiritual presence. It would merely mean that the PPP’s performance in office was just not good enough. I hope that is what Raja Pervaiz has gone to pray for, not the sale of some plot or the other.
Well, the election is fast approaching, with dates being quoted in the first half of May, but towards its middle. That would imply the assemblies completing their tenure, for it implies elections 60 days after the Assemblies expire rather than the 90 that are allowed if the dissolution is premature, even if it is by a day. Either way, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is heading towards an end to his tenure, and the time window is shrinking when he can go to Ajmer as Prime Minister.
While Raja Pervaiz is off to Ajmer, maybe he could spare a thought for Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan President, who died after a battle with cancer. Chavez was only re-elected last year, and that too after getting a constitutional amendment lifting the term limit. I know the late President Chavez was anti-American, but maybe Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf is giving him a thought. For he too was a commando. Anyway, he should show Raja Pervaiz that elections aren’t everything. Even if you win one, it doesn’t mean that if your personal term is up, you won’t go.
While the Prime Minister was in Ajmer Sharif, hopefully Syed Naveed Qamar was fully alive (and awake) to the defence of the nation. He shouldn’t pay too much attention to how a former Greek Defence Minister was convicted for corruption. Someone should tell the Greeks that that isn’t how they will get out of their crisis.
And if Raja Pervaiz has been to Ajmer, Gen (r) Pervaiz Musharraf is coming back to Pakistan. As one of those named in the Benazir murder case, he is a reminder that the present government has not brought to trial her killers. When she was alive, the common PPP excuse for inaction was that she was not allowed to complete her term. Well, now the full term is being completed, and her party could not even provide her justice. So why should ordinary people complain?
Ordinary people, like the residents of the Christian colony in Lahore, which was burnt on Saturday, because one of the residents was accused of blasphemy. There seems to have been some confusion here. The colony isn’t accused, one of its residents is. And he has been arrested. Of course, not only will he escape punishment, but he will be given a new life abroad. But, burnt as it is, the colony will stay where it is. True, we have become an intolerant society. But aren’t we following a global trend? Why the intolerance of those who object to blasphemy? Though we must admit that no religion prescribes burning as a punishment. Not even of colonies. Besides, the blasphemy method is a peculiarly cumbersome method of immigration. And it’s risky.
I really don’t know what Raja Pervaiz should have prayed for in Ajmer. One can only hope about what he prayed for. Only he knows. Him and Allah. Maybe he prayed for tolerance. Maybe we should hope for an answer. Otherwise the fires might continue. And then where would we be?
I don’t suppose anyone fighting the next election wanted this to happen. The man in charge, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif suspended everyone in sight, and cancelled a dinner he was to be at (for those who built the Metro Bus). That was a contrast to the engagement all attended in Karachi when the Abbas Town blast occurred, and the time it took before the Sindh IGP, the Karachi police chief and others were suspended. Now we can see whether such swift action lessens the suffering of those who have lost both life and property. In the case of both, property accumulated through great effort.