CITY NOTES: Putting the virus in contempt | Pakistan Today

CITY NOTES: Putting the virus in contempt

I’m sorry I missed out on wishing you, dear reader, a Happy Eid. So I’m doing it now, just over a week late. In my defence, may I say that I was caught in the crossfire, like the rest of the nation, between Science & Technology Minister Ch Fawad and Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneebur Rahman.

Mufti Muneeb kept on insisting that Ch Fawad Was nobody to decide about the sighting of the Shawwal moon, app or no app. Ch Fawad was too bust playing with his mobile, on which his app said we would have Eid on Sunday, along with Mufti Shamezai of Masjid Mahabbat Khan.

Actually, I suspect that Imran Khan fasts. If you go back to the Zia era, Ramazan also ended after 39 days. That was because, I suspect, Zia didn’t see the point of being President if he let the Committee let Ramazan go to 30 days. We only had 30-day Ramzans under Asif Zardari, who probably didn’t mind. Or maybe Ch Fawad fasted this Ramazan. Look at his physique; that’s a man who would want Eid to come as soon as possible.

Ch Fawad is also known for saying the unsaid. For example, he said he wouldn’t attend the National Assembly because a PTI MNA tested positive for coronavirus. Well, the National Assembly is still unscathed, but a lady MPA from Punjab, and a JUI(F) MPA from Baluchistan, have given up the ghost. The former’s seat will be filled from the party list, but the latter’s seat will need a by-election. That will be a test in particular for Chief Minister Jam Kamal, who will have to deliver the seat to the government if he is worth his salt.

Well, that’s his problem. Mine was getting through this Eid. Of course, though there was the pleasure of marking Eid along with the rest of the Muslim world, this was also the first Eid of social distancing. And it seems the new reality is a lot of uncertainty. It’s good to see that even those not practicing social distancing are too uncertain to offer the hugs and handshakes that seem to go with Eid.

A lot of people said they were marking Eid with simplicity because of the Karachi air tragedy. That had not stopped the Supreme Court inadvertently opening the floodgates for the annual display of aggression, kicking, biting sand gouging, known as an Eid sale. It ordered the reopening of the markets because the lockdown had violated the fundamental rights of the citizen.

But what about the right to life? Can any court, including the Supreme Court, hold the coronavirus in contempt? That depends on whether the virus is a legal person, which in turn depends on whether it can appoint a lawyer or represent itself. Can one virus speak on behalf of another, or does it speak only for itself. And what happens if a virus says that it alone won’t infect anyone, but if anyone touches his mouth with a million viruses, then it can’t be blamed.

But perhaps the most important question, one affecting the entire criminal justice system, is whether the police has found some way of extracting money from the coronavirus. The government refused to enforce a strict lockdown, thus depriving policemen of letting people violate the curfew in exchange for a consideration.

Y’know, police honesty can be over-rated. Look at what’s happening in Minneapolis; indeed, all over the USA. It supposed to be because the police are prejudiced against African-Americans. Not over here. Our cops hate everybody. And then, the death of George Floyd would never have happened here. His body would have been found riddled with police bullets somewhere, carrying a rusted AK-47. And the police would have said he was killed in an escape attempt helped by his companions. Being the USA, the protests have seen incidents of looting.

I wonder if Trump knows what’s happening. Or whether he’s too high on hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial which he is taking as a prophylactic against Covid-19. Even he has had enough sense to stay away from drinking disinfectant, which he recommended as a sovereign remedy. I wonder if he has tried sniffing glue? Sometimes he sounds like it.