Encounters of the policeman’s kind

City Notes

That the Pakistan Awami Tehrik protest on The Mall was a barely tolerated nuisance was shown by the Lahore High Court decision on the petition asking that it be stopped. The LHC let it take place, but ordered that it be wrapped up by midnight. It was a double disappointment, because no further line of action was announced, and because the two chief guests, Asif Zardari and Imran Khan, did not show off their moves. The hopes of those who thought they would inspire that host Tahirul Qadri to display what he had learned in Canada, were disappointed. There seems to be a conspiracy against Qadri, what with the Supreme Court taking up the nationality issue once again.

Imran, who was prevented from showing what he could do by Zardari’s failure to show what he could if there was music in the air, instead put a curse on Parliament. One would hasten to tell Harry Potter fans that it was neither a Cruciatus nor an Aava Cadavra, but simply an old-fashioned lanat, as flung at the screen from the front seats of cinemas at a particularly bad piece of acting, or when the villain makes an entry. Of course, Imran has a right to be angry at Parliament, because it has not done its simple duty, which is to make him Prime Minister as soon as it met. Instead, it scurvily made Mian Nawaz Sharif PM. The Supreme Court may have removed him from office, but it failed to do its national duty, and make Imran PM.

Imran might feel a little concerned by how the national team tamely surrendered to New Zealand, 5-0. But perhaps not as disgraceful as how the blind team gave India the World Cup. You can’t blame the blind team. They only did what the sighted team did in the 2011 World Cup semi-final, after all.

Imran was lucky to be here for the rally. He had got an alibi for the death of little Asma, who was raped and murdered in Gandarpur Gujjar Garhi, Mardan district. It seems that bestiality occurs as much in PTI-ruled paradise (KPK), as in the PML-N-ruled hellhole that is Punjab, where Zainab was assaulted and killed in Kasur. It should be noted that Asma was found a day after disappearing, and Zainab after three days, which must be a relief for the former’s relatives, while making the latter’s wish that the PTI ruled Punjab.

Meanwhile, the PPP was being made to look ineffective in Sindh. The Karachi police seem to be on a rampage, but as the IG holds office despite the provincial government, and on a Supreme Court order, it can disclaim responsibility for what is happening. However, it isn’t, and the Sindh Home Minister, Anwar Siyal, was busy on TV talk shows carefully refraining from blaming the IGP. The SSP Malir, Rao Anwar, whose main claim to fame was a tirade against Altaf Hussain and the MQM, was supposedly behind the killing of Naqeebullah Mahsud, who he claimed was a dyed-in-the-wool terrorist.

Naquibullah’s killing is still something of a mystery, for if he wasn’t a terrorist, why had Rao Anwar decided to off him? Mahsud’s Facebook showed that, if he was a terrorist, he did not fit the normal conception of one, or maybe the stereotype needs updating. A lot of updating. And that wasn’t the only police killing. Intezar was shot at a police checkpoint, after the police party there fired at his vehicle. Then most recently, was Maqsood, who was shot in the back, allegedly by accomplices trying to free him, on Drigh Road. He had been arrested on suspicion of being a member of a gang which specialized in snatching mobiles. I know, sounds more like a Bollywood gangster movie scripted by someone with a particularly wild imagination, but there it is.

But then what price the van from Slovenia which crashed in Croatia after a chase by the police after it had crossed the Austrian border. There were 20 Pakistanis on board. Wow! 20! Surely that constitutes criminal overloading. And the Pakistanis had presumably not yet burnt their passports, which would have allowed them to claim that they were actually Syrians. Note: the Slovenian cops didn’t shoot. And Syrians had their own problems too. The bodies of 13 were found recently on the Syria-Lebanon border. They had all frozen to death, including little children.

One place the PTI is glad it isn’t in office is California, which has a Democrat Governor, and where 13 malnourished kids were recovered from a house in a neighbourhood just south of Los Angeles. They were between two and 29, and were not just malnourished, but also shackled. Their parents, David Allen and Louise Anne Turpin, are in custody. This shows that bestiality towards children is global, and could be committed by anyone.

Kids couldn’t find much good news recently, for they lost a friend too. Yes, Munnoo Bhai is no more. The last of his three careers was as a friend of children, for he ran the Sundas Foundation, which worked with thalassaemia patients, so he ended up spending his time as a Friend of Children. This came after a full life as a journalist, both as an editor and a columnist, and then as a TV playwright, in which Jhoke Siyal, Sona Chandi and Dasht, among others, were not only very popular, but broke new ground.