CITY NOTES: Selecting a team | Pakistan Today

CITY NOTES: Selecting a team

LAHORE: The one-and-a-half-year-old child who was killed in Karachi during police firing at dacoits led to the arrest of the five policemen involved, though their ‘brothers of the belt’ are trying to save them. Not because they are kind to orphans or distribute money in secret charity, but because they might need the favour in future.

It seems they intend to follow the prescription used so successfully in Sahiwal, where the local Counter-Terrorism Department boys did not surrender their weapons, so there have not been any ballistic tests comparing the bullets of those weapons, and the bullets that did the killing and wounding.

So if there are no ballistic tests on the weapons of the cops involved in Karachi, they could well claim to have been at home playing Scrabble, or some other educative board game. I suppose some of their more aware colleagues shot down the idea of them saying that they had shot in self-defence, and the deceased toddler was a dangerous criminal, drug dealer and killer for hire. Not to forget a terrorist.

Of course, if it had advanced the national interest, they could have pinned the Notre-Dame fire on him, but they were waiting for the Paris police to determine the suspect they wanted. Was it going to be some Arab visitor, or some North African already settled in France, the child of migrant labourers? The French cops didn’t even have the sense to produce eyewitnesses saying they had first heard someone yell, “Allahu Akbar” and then throw a lit match into a pile of kindling. The cops didn’t even claim to have identified a mad Muslim as the attacker. Typical Gallic inefficiency.

Parisians could have done with some of the rainy weather we’ve been having. It would have been unseasonal there too, but we haven’t had a fire. Notre Dame is perhaps made most memorable in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, originally a novel by Victor Hugo, with the title role of Quasimodo in the 1956 film made memorable by Anthony Quinn and Esmeralda played by Gina Lollobrigida also one of the highlights. There had previously been a film in 1939, in which Charles Laughton as Quasimodo made famous the phrase: “The bells! The bells!”

While cops were shooting kids in Karachi, teachers were beating them up in Pakpattan. Well, a Class 6 teacher in a government school there beat up a kid for misbehaving in class. I know the temptation is there, especially in the junior and middle grades, where children are usually pretty small (and teachers are adults). But it should be restricted to putting the offender outside the classroom. But I suspect that teachers want to punish the offender, not just have a peaceful classroom. Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has ordered an enquiry, and one suspects that he knows what the kids are going through from personal, bitter experience.

Well, he didn’t go through the bitter experience of some PTI ministers, who were not just removed from their portfolios, but sacked from the Cabinet. That means that official Cars have been withdrawn, and they are soon to be turfed out of official residences. The most prominent casualty was Asad Umar, the Finance Minister, whose slogan seems to have been pantaan laa dawangay (we’ll take off their trousers). He’s been replaced by Dr Hafeez Sheikh, whose slogan is khal khhich lawangay (we’ll skin them).

Former Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry kept the car and house by accepting the Science and Technology portfolio. Asad Umar was one of those who didn’t. And now that the scare has been well and truly spread, I see that Punjab is being subjected to it as well, with Imran Khan asking the Punjab and KP CMs to prepare lists of ministers up for the chop. The chief ministers, presumably, are safe. Well, that would assume that the PM himself is safe.

It’s quite fascinating the Pakistan Cricket Board’s Board of Governors is also in turmoil, what with a walkout by some members at the last meeting, with the PCB unable to pass its Budget. The issue was the creation of the post of MD, or perhaps the person appointed to it. One result is that the ICC will suspend the PCB from all meetings. And that would let India run riot against Pakistan. How I don’t know, because the PCB hasn’t been able to work out how to raise the Kashmir issue at the ICC, which shows an unpatriotic spirit, but I’m sure India will misuse Pakistan’s absence to build more dams on the Indus.

The PCB doesn’t have a role in the selection of a parliamentarians’ team for the coming post-World Cup tournament. Pakistan has deprived itself of its most potent weapon, Imran Khan, because of the absurd age limit of under 35. I can see selection will be a problem. Can you move a privilege motion if you’re not picked? Well, the PCB and Parliament have both got budget problems, and selection problems. Now how does the PCB get military involvement?

Peruvian ex-President Alan Garcia showed the way by committing suicide when they were coming to arrest him for corruption, just as Brig (retd) Asad Munir, the TV analyst, also did. We probably won’t have that problem, because you need to be alive to commit suicide. And you can’t be arrested if you’re a corpse, like Mamnoon Hussain.

If you’re not, like Sudan’s ousted President Omar Al-Bashir, you get piles of banknotes found in your house, like Sindh Speaker Siraj Durrani or earlier, the Baluchistan Finance Secretary. Times seem bad for ex-Presidents. One of ours (Asif Zardari) also has awkward questions to answer.

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