City Notes

The militant attack on Bacha Khan University in Charsadda was a sort of replay of the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar. However, it did raise the question that should have been asked then. Where is the security that Zarb-i-Azb should have brought?

Of course, some claimed that militants were fleeing from the Operation and shifting their targets to soft targets. That was not what was said after the Peshawar massacre. After that massacre, there was a national consensus built on hammering the militants. So the Charsadda attack was industriously blamed on not implementing the plan evolved then. That would mean that somebody at some level is supporting the militants. In fact, a lot of people, all over the country. Does that mean the militants have numbers behind them? If they did, wouldn’t democracy dictate that they have a voice?

Perhaps the sort of voice that the peace party with India has. Another theory is that this was ‘revenge’ for the Pathankot attack. Not the bomb blast in Khyber Agency the day before. That was routine. Well, that means that revenge took place against the only university named after the ‘Frontier Gandhi’. A further irony is that the Chancellor of that university is ex officio the Governor, who belongs to the PML(N). Both Bacha Khan and the Quaid-e-Azam must be turning over in their graves.

Another person who is probably turning over in his grave is Nawab Akbar Bugti. Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, then President and COAS, was acquitted of his murder. The best reaction was Musharraf’s: he said the decision would restore faith in the judiciary. Right, and even more would be restored if he was acquitted in the other two capital trials he is undergoing, one for the murder of Benazir Bhutto, and the other for high treason.

Capital trials are dicey things. Ask Mohammad Nisham, the Indian beedi maker, who killed his security guard in 2015, and got a sentence of life plus 24 years. He rammed a security guard at his housing complex with his SUV, and then beat him repeatedly with an iron rod. There are a number of charges against him, including assaulting a women sub-inspector. All the offences were committed under the influence of alcohol, including the murder. One assumes that Musharraf had nothing to do with Bugti’s or Benazir’s murders while under the influence.

Drinking too much was not the reason for British PM David Cameron’s saying that Muslim women should learn English or be deported. That doesn’t seem fair. It’s not just Muslim women migrants who don’t know English. Has Cameron heard any Scotsmen recently? Cameron’s name says he’s of Highland descent, so maybe he’s a candidate for deportation? Well, no, he very correctly sounds as if he’s got a hot potato in his mouth.

One wonders why Nisham didn’t have beef eating thrown at him. In fact, that wasn’t among the charges against Rohith Vermula, the Dalit Ph.D. student who committed suicide after being charged with a clash with workers of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the ruling BJP, and who was expelled by the University, which is federally administered, which is why the Modi government is carrying the can. True, the Vermulas are swine breeders, but Rohith was breaking out. The death of a Dalit uppity enough to enroll in a doctoral programme coinciding with a Muslim being sentenced to life-plus? Proof, not that Modi and his cohorts needed any, that those two are polluters, and must be suppressed.

Pakistan had its own problems with the minorities, what with 12 people dying here after drinking poisonous liquour. Did they drink coopis laced with pure alcohol, or did they imbibe from refilled bottles? Christians died, indicating that they paid a fatal price for being their own best customers. However, the difference between India and Pakistan is that Nisham shouldn’t have been drinking while those who died in Pakistan can.

In Tajikistan, though, it is not the minority that is causing the problem so much as the majority. Yes, there they’ve begun shaving off beards of men caught off the streets. That might still be a minority, but it seems a good way to get a free shave. I wonder whether a razorblade company is behind the campaign? And what’s to stop people regrowing beards? As a matter of fact, you don’t grow a beard. You just don’t shave. At what stage does an unsightly fuzz become a beard? No one knows, except perhaps the Tajikistan authorities.

And if you can’t stop people growing beards, can you stop them betting? After cricket, it’s tennis’ turn to be hit by a spot-fixing scandal. Maybe tennis players should learn from the example of Muhammad Amir, that there’s life after match-fixing. Or will they learn from Salman Butt’s example that there’s life after sport. Mian Nawaz Sharif is living life after sport, even the gentle weekend variety he practiced so many years ago at the Gymkhana. Admittedly that life includes visits to Saudi Arabia and Iran, to bring peace. True, that meant that King Salman and President Rouhani must have realized how low they had fallen, to have Pakistan intervene in their internal affairs.