CITY NOTES: From Davos to Wuhan (and in between) | Pakistan Today

CITY NOTES: From Davos to Wuhan (and in between)

Prime Minister Imran Khan met US President Donald Trump in Davos, where the latter said he would mediate over Kashmir if he was asked. Of course, you can’t trust Trump. And especially these days, when there is an impeachment trial against him underway. I must confess I haven’t been able to watch it, even though it is being telecast live. It’s at so unseasonal an hour that I can’t stay awake. Especially not in this weather. I am not so concerned about Trump’s fate that I will sit in front of the idiot box, yawning and trembling. I’ve reached an age where I fall asleep in front of the TV, and wake up with an awful ache in my joints.

Imran has got similar problems. There’s a forward bloc announced in Punjab, and there’s a group of MPAs in KP who don’t like the CM, Mehmood Khan and a load of ministers. The Punjab forward bloc wants Usman Buzdar replaced. There has been a suggestion that he himself behind the move because he resents his loss of powers, which are exercised by the new Chief Secretary and IGP. It seems that the Forward Bloc wants development funds released. In short, MPAs heard that being elected meant being listened to by the district administration and the police, without any nonsense about merit or legality. Another aspect has been raised, that civil servants and coppers snootily refuse to do what elected politicians want, while doing each other favours. It’s not clear whether the objection is to the favours, or to the people doing them.

Imran seems to have solved the flour shortage by deciding that there isn’t any. One hopes that he can solve all other problems that way. Kashmir? There isn’t a problem. Of course, the wheat shortage was wasted. It should have been blamed on Nawaz Sharif. Don’t worry, there’s a sugar shortage building up, which can be blamed on Shahbaz.

In case you think the PTI had made a mistake worrying about the Sharif brothers going abroad even though Mian Nawaz was healthy as a horse, as Dr Imran could see from the pictures of the back of his head, just look at the Transparency International Report, which actually said that Pakistan was more corrupt than last year. The precious thin reward for Imran Khan’s winning the World Cup. It’s obvious to the meanest intelligence, even Usman Buzdar, that the Sharif brothers misused their bail to persuade Transparency International to give a finding that makes Imran look bad, ignoring the fact that he built a cancer hospital.

Imran and Trump might have agreed on Kashmir, but they probably disagreed on the Wuhan epidemic. Trump, fresh off ordering General Soleimani’s assassination, was probably paying back the Chinese for their conspiracy to stop America being great again: global warming. Trump has the same solution for global warming as Imran does for the flour shortage: sating it doesn’t exist. That’s why Trump had to go to Davos, to combat the Chinese propaganda.

If Trump is behind the Wuhan epidemic, then it won’t spread too far. But I am reminded of the origin of the Black Death, the bubonic plague which depopulated Europe and probably destroyed the feudal system (because the shortage of labour changed the landowner-peasant relationship) by killing 55 million people. It started with rats bearing lice which in turn bore the plague virus. And the rats caught the lice in China, travelled to Europe on trading ships, and then spread the plague in Europe. This epidemic is travelling by jet. It’s already spreading to countries in the region, and there’s been a scare over here. As recently as 1855, there was a bubonic plague outbreak in China that reached here, in which 12 million people died. It shouldn’t be forgotten that one phase of plague, and the more deadly, was the one that involved the lungs. One of the means of prevention is to wear a mask. Well, we’ve recently had some experience with that, what with the smog. Are we ready otherwise? I don’t know. There’s been a case reported from Multan, and there’s a load of Pakistani students in Wuhan. I’m sure their parents are frantic. I know I would be if any of my kids were in Wuhan.

Well, at home, the Bangladesh team is wondering why they bothered getting Test status, after the thumping they got in the first two T20s in Lahore. Today is the third, and I’d be very surprised if the result was any different. I know we want a successful return to Test cricket, but do we have to thump the other team so badly? That might explain why we aren’t getting, good teams, like England or Australia, to visit. Anyhow, Bangladesh is doing Imran proud, and proving that they are honest and that the decision to pick Shoaib Malik was the right one. So next to be brought back could be Imran, right?