Let me say at the outset that I have the deepest respect for National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal. The denial by NAB of the video purporting to show him in a bad light is something I find wholly convincing, especially when I remember that NAB custody has been criticised by no lesser persons than the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Mian Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Aleem Khan. I have no wish to be paraded in handcuffs, as was done to university professors, nor will I commit suicide if interrogated by NAB, as I believe suicide is haraam. I have no wish for NAB to realise that my claims to have never held any public office are true, only after I have been in its custody for several months.
I do not defend sexual harassment. But I did not really see our version of the #MeToo Movement starting in a NAB office. I would have suspected Lollywood as being where it would start. Some would say that Meesha Shafi has started it against Ali Zafar, which would make it the music industry. Still, one woman does not make a movement.
Of course, Justice (r) Iqbal does not have only NAB to scare me. I am also paranoid about the Supreme Court (SC) hauling me up for contempt. Would the apex court take up the case of anyone who said anything about a retired judge? I would not like to take the risk, and I would strongly suggest that no one else take it.
I would not like to be identified as part of the patriarchy. But I would like to point out that it has been powerful for a really long time. And I must point out that the NAB chairman is in good company. The leader of the free world (Donald Trump) has been accused of paying off a stripper he is supposed to have had an affair with. The leader of the Islamic world (Imran Khan) has been accused of so many things he would not even bother denying them.
It is with trepidation and fearful glances over my shoulder for NAB or SC that I would like to point out that PTI is in office. Which means that accusation is guilt and Justice (r) Iqbal has been accused. Of course, I would think that he would be learning the meaning of guilty until proven innocent at home, from his wife.
His innocence would not count, even though the woman in question and her husband have had a reference filed against them for blackmailing not just the chairman, but many others. That reference, by the way, is proof of guilt.
And I think that the people who are finding out from their wives the meaning of the phrase ‘guilt by association’ are not just his subordinates at NAB but his former SC colleagues. Then there are the many who have no other link with Justice (r) Iqbal beyond that of his being a fellow man.
I do not think PTI is taking much interest in the matter. Now if it could be proved that Nawaz had leaked the clip, then you would have Imran showing an interest. I am surprised that he showed an interest in the case of little Farishta, whose ravaged corpse was found in Islamabad, and whose disappearance was reported to the police, which did not register it. Instead, they asked her father to produce proof of being a Pakistani, not an Afghan refugee. Would that have made a difference? Is it open season on Afghan little girls.
The reason for not entering the disappearance? The police thought the 10-year-old had eloped. I suspect that the real purpose was to make a bit of money. Whoever heard of a report being registered for free? Did anyone in PTI not tell it like it is, and blame Mian Nawaz or preferably Mian Shehbaz?
The whole episode was painful, and called into question more emphatically PTI’s right to rule, even if Imran ordered policemen arrested for neglecting the case. The problem is that the PM cannot even suspend the IGP Islamabad, as he would like to, not after the Azam Swati incident, when the latter found that it was worth nothing being a minister when you could not even get an IGP transferred.
I wonder if Modi has the same problem, even after being elected again to office. He has not got office yet in his own capital, which has been ruled by Congress and then by the Aam Aadmi Party. So just remember, eat beef in India at your own risk.
While Modi tries to prevent cow-slaughter, our PM would probably like to slaughter the cricket team, whose loss to Afghanistan, solely to entertain Mian Shehbaz Sharif, who is there these days, shows how far corrupt elements have gone in their takeover of the cricket team.