City Notes

The series of blasts, not by terrorists but the Punjab Irrigation Department, was supposed to save head works, barrages and siphons from destruction, but the inaugural blast, which was supposed to save Trimmu headworks, in Athara Hazari, was advertised as saving Jhang city from inundation. I suppose it was a gesture to Dr Tahirul Qadri, who hails from there. I don’t know if he appreciated the gesture, because he has not been particularly appreciated there.

I wonder if there has been a ban placed on pillion riding in Jhang. That seems to be the automatic reaction to any crisis. They’ve banned it in Islamabad, because of the Marches, and the next step will be to turn off mobile phones. I’m surprised they haven’t already, what with all the arrests taking place.

Maybe Mian Nawaz should resign. After all, the Marchers are not going to go away, and the thought of Dr Qadri being pulled off a motorbike which Imran Khan is riding, should include the thought of Imran trying to make a call on a useless mobile. I mean, why negotiate at the house of the inventor of the tactic, Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, if mobiles are not made useless?

Mobiles might not be banned yet, but Saeed Ajmal has been banned because the ICC has found he chucks. I think the root of the problem is that a lot of people chuck at the beginning. And nobody stops them. The more talented go up the ladder, still chucking. The best thing would be to teach small boys not to chuck. However, by allowing 15⁰ of arm-bending, you’re allowing some chucking. So when does the umpire call him. From Ajmal’s results, it seems only when he exceeds 40⁰. We’re moving to an Americanisation of cricket. After all, pitchers in baseball chuck as much as they want. Imran Khan should be shocked at how the ICC has joined the conspiracy against him, or maybe at the PCB for not supporting Saeed Ajmal properly. He’s already blamed Mian Nawaz for the floods, after all. So why not for chucking?

Isn’t he afraid of the umpire he has been calling on? Or the umpire who arrested Azam Swati? Azam Swati is to be avoided by political parties. With the JUI(F), he had to resign from the Gilani government, and now this. He’s almost as bad as Javed Hashmi. And the umpire too spoke, in the form of the DG ISPR, who was very correct in saying the Army was not behind Imran or Dr Qadri. What would have been really surprising if he had said the Army was backing those two. But it still seems too much of an effort by PTI workers. I know they are desperate to get to a john, but those in jail are probably rather rudimentary.

However, it does seem as if Imran and Qadri are taking a leaf out of the Army’s book. Y’know, the one which says, “Old soldiers don’t die, they just fade away.” In the same way, the Marches will never be over. And whenever Mian Nawaz leaves office to make way for a caretaker, the parties will claim victory. Because now the March is not about electoral reform, but about making the Prime Minister resign. And anyone with a weaker nerve, or a more sensitive nose, would have caved in.

But then, one should not ignore the effect of the rains. I know there have been a lot of deaths because of them, but they are not being blamed for the Daroghawala mosque collapse, which took so many lives, and where the builder is being blamed. Well, the builder may now know that one does not cheat the Almighty, but it should also show us that the congregants killed in the roof collapse were preordained to die while praying, and though no one intended to come to the mosque to die, that is what happened.

One shouldn’t reduce the enormity of those deaths, just as one mustn’t that of those in Karachi, where a spate of target killings that afflicted the city despite the ongoing operation there. Karachi also saw the attack by militants on the Karachi Shipyard Engineering Works, which led to the deaths of militants as well as naval personnel. Karachi has become very unsafe. Almost as unsafe as Islamabad.

And teachers had a hard time, being lathi-charged outside Bilawal House, when they tried to stage a sit-in there. Though they didn't belong to either the PTI or PAT, they showed one of the dangers of their Islamabad Marches. Everyone will try. The writ of the state will be under threat everywhere.

But death neither needs militancy nor criminality, as the deaths of eight newborns in the Vehari DHQ Hospital showed. Just negligence is enough. And you don’t need the sort of malignity needed to kill your own children, as happened in Alabama, where five bodies were found of children killed by their own father. Those murders didn’t move President Barack Obama as much as the IS, which he announced new measures (more bombing, more troops, more money) to stop their murderous rampage. And once again, the 9/11 anniversary interfered with the anniversary of the Quaid-e-Azam’s death. Actually, I don’t think Obama was so concerned with IS as with the way they were executing American journalists. Somehow, I don’t think he saw the bright side, which was that militants were no longer crashing skyscrapers, just cutting individual throats. Wonder when it will be our turn next?