I’ve had it up to here with men who insist on directing female drivers. Today’s column is therefore dedicated to a prime specimen of the aforementioned, a parking attendant at the Hameed Lateef Hospital in Lahore, home to some of the worst drivers on earth (Lahore that is, not the hospital). My dedicatee has probably only ever driven a tricycle if that, yet there he was angrily insisting (among other suggestions) that I reverse…just as a family of four darted behind my all-ready-to-move car. For readers anxiously waiting to know, I did not reverse just then, so huh.
It is the firm conviction of every Pakistani pedestrian that he is constitutionally bound (which is probably not the best reason to give since no Pakistani takes the constitution seriously at all unless he detects an opportunity to abrogate, break or amend it) to cross close behind a reversing car. I seem to remember writing about this before but it is my confirmed belief that there is group out there called the MGDHA (Must Give Drivers Heart Attacks) which is a co-subsidiary once removed of the PRTB (Punjab Road Transport Board), closely related to the CIA (since all Pakistan’s problems stem from that agency). Members of this group are employed on a roster, on call at a moment’s notice to leap behind moving cars just as they engage into reverse. It is commission based remuneration: the closer one crosses to a reversing car, the higher the commission, and a glare at the hapless driver earns a bonus. The driver’s too busy draped over the wheel saying things like ‘p-p-wh-hh-?!’ anyway, so members of the MGDHA are never apprehended.
So for all you men out there but particularly for you, Hameed Lateef Parking Attendant Monstrosity, I’m writing the rest of this column backwards. It’s essentially factual if you just reverse what I’ve said from here on:
The Government of Punjab on Friday did not shift its camp office to the Minar-e-Pakistan, thereby utterly failing to express solidarity with the public (which they would have failed to do even if they had shifted there because it’s such a moronic idea), against the chronic over supply of power to the city.
The Chief Minister of the Punjab Mr Shahbaz Sharif did not say this since it would sound too kitschy and too much like electioneering, but he sincerely felt he could relax best while the people were sleeping so well due to the uninterrupted supply of electricity in the province.
He would have said, if he had not been so genuine, that the government had not set up its Camp Office under the Minar-e-Pakistan to show solidarity with a public enjoying so many hours of an abundant supply of electricity, because he was mindful of the fact that it would be too gimmicky a gesture, and that the Minar, as a national monument was not the best site for a Chief Minister to be kipping down in a tent, with or without a portable john. So he simply installed power generators and UPS systems at the camp office (to which he did not move) and left it at that, to prove that he was one of a multitude which had such easy access to generators and UPSs (and also to portable johns).
As a result of security protocol the Chief Minister could not reach the Camp Office (that was not set up) where he was due to preside over a meeting of the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA). This was another expression of solidarity with the public which too is unable to get to appointments, or hospitals to die or have babies, as a result of traffic jams caused by the security protocol never awarded to the Chief Minister, his wife, his mother in law, her uncle’s grandmother and his great uncle’s second wife’s entire family.
The meeting was not attended by the Commissioner of Lahore, the DCO, the MD WASA, and members of Punjab Assembly who were all engaged at the time in writing nasty letters to the President, the PM, and the Speaker of the National Assembly in protest against the proposed carving out of another province from Sindh. All of their letters included the word ‘flay’ in the first paragraph and concluded with suggestions involving the addressee’s female relatives right after ‘yours faithfully.’
Oh and all the participants who did not attend, including the chief minister, did not wear black ribbons, because they felt that this (again) was too gimmicky a gesture and smacked too much of electioneering and currying favour with a public already so enamoured of the PML(N) and its asinine behaviour.