City Notes

It is almost as if the men of Kufa are being continually punished for their last betrayal, that of Imam Hussain at Karbala. The men of Kufa are not the opponents of the Imam, but his supporters. They are those who show weakness when strength is most wanted. They were the ones who first betrayed the Imam’s father, then his elder brother, and then him. They have passed into the Urdu language as a proverb, standing for all that is base and self-seeking.

And in an era where the Syrian people are being slaughtered, and where Palestinians have begun a new Intifada, which is being met by shootings and slaughter, even of little children and women. I am reminded of a story from the first intifada, when an Israeli Army patrol caught a little boy, not more than three, throwing stones at them, they asked him who had put him up to this. He replied, his elder brother, and pointed to him. He was a boy of five at most. Those boys have grown up now, and their own children are now engaged in their own intifada, but now accused of using knives, not stones. The Israeli occupation forces, now does not bother checking whether the approaching Palestinian is carrying a knife or not. They just shoot.

Meanwhile, as Palestinian women and children are gunned down by the Israeli military machine, our Prime Minister is off in Washington meeting the head of Israel’s primary backer, s President Barack Obama. And as Syrians go on being slaughtered and being made refugees, imambargahs in Pakistan are attacked. The results are fatal, with 10 killed in Kachhi, and 22 in Jacobabad. If Pakistanis are like the men of Kufa for ignoring those being killed in Syria and Palestine, then should it not be asked who will mourn those killed in Pakistan this Ashura.

Instead of catching the killers, the police was busy turning off mobile phones and shutting down the Internet. Though they probably would like to, there is no stopping people from going to Muharram processions or imambargahs.

The police in Lahore was too exercised to pay much attention to the DSP’s son accused of running over a motorcyclist. The young lad, it has been whispered, was under the influence of an illegal substance. Well, he was a DSP’s son. It’s a pretty strange country where a DSP’s son isn’t allowed to kill people. I assume that the boy’s mother is now after her husband to prove that his job really matters. Expect the boy to get off with paying blood money to the victim’s heirs, and expect the DSP’s circle’s police stations to do a quick whip-around. That circle, Lower Mall, includes the office of the SP City, who is headquartered in Lower Mall police station. I don’t know if the DSP has a paunch or pigeon toes, but even if he doesn’t, the question is whether he has spiritually.

When Mian Nawaz met Obama, he probably had a great worry. I’ve been told by a friend that things have changed in the USA, that whites are moving into Harlem, but a Pakistani of Kashmiri stock still is never comfortable in a room with an African-American, and remains with a hand perpetually and nervously upon his wallet. Well, Nawaz was not rolled over by Obama, not even over the tactical nukes the Foreign Secretary concedes that we have.

One result of the American visit was that Mian Nawaz spent Ashura abroad, just as he had done for Eidul Azha. True, he had spent Eid abroad, in Saudi Arabia, voluntarily, but still… I wonder where he’ll be on Eid Milad?

Not Canada, I hope. That’s where Justin Trudeau just got elected Prime Minister. He’s the son of Pierre Trudeau, who was Canadian PM twice between 1968 and 1984. Around the time that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was Prime Minister in Pakistan, and Indira Gandhi in India. George Bush Senior was Ambassador to the UN and China then, just to complete the round of parents whose children made it to their parent’s office. Trudeau is as informal as his mother, who was even more informal than her husband… As the PM’s wife, she carried around baby Justin papoose-style. No wonder he went on a walk in the streets after becoming PM.

One of the things that happened was the attack on the BCCI offices, because of which PCB chief Shehryar Khan escaped being beaten up. Shehryar would have been Nawab of Bhopal (or rather ex-Nawab) had his mother stayed back in India, but he still wouldn’t have had the freedom to scarf beef. In fact, after stopping cricket this way, the Shiv Sena also poured ink in New Delhi on AJK legislator Abdur Rashid for eating beef. Well, at least he ate beef. Unlike the Dalits burned alive in Faridabad, just outside Delhi. Their crime was being born.