Prime Minister Imran Khan came up with a solution for the gang-rape on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway. Public hanging, which he said was impossible because the European Union would not stand for it, or castration, chemical or actual. Well, I suppose it is lucky he did not suggest public castration. I know they tried chemical castration in the UK, as well as all around the world, but it was generally as part of a deal involving probation and release into the community.
I wonder if Imran would like to choose between death or release. I suppose the chemical castration, which is reversible by the simple expedient of leaving off the chemical castrator.
However, I suppose we should bow to Imran’s superior medical knowledge, which was confirmed by the Islamabad High Court (IHC), which ruled that Nawaz Sharif would have to appear before it if he hoped to appeal his conviction.
I suppose that means that his request to have the conviction converted from one of corruption to one for murder would not be entertained. It is so much more impressive in the village, you see. It can be argued that he had an urban constituency, but in Gowalmandi, murderers are looked upon with deep respect, even more than nuclear physicists.
Information Minister Shibli Faraz came up with the interesting defence that there had to be some reason to allow public hangings in Islam. As the accused is married, a conviction would not entail merely public hanging, but public execution involving stoning to death. Perhaps it was inevitable that the State of Medina would come in at some stage, but why only the public execution? And anyway, there is no punishment of chemical or other castration prescribed in the statutes.
One of the problems that would face the prosecution attempting to get a public stoning for the rapists would be the need for four eyewitnesses unless there is a confession by the accused, from which they do not resile before sentence is carried out. There are no witnesses, let alone four, and confessions may have been made, but the accused will probably resile. They will get up to 25 years in jail, and up to 30 stripes, for Zina bil-jabr liable to tazir.
At the time of writing, the main accused has not been arrested. But the fellow mechanic with whom he was committing robberies, as well as the man whose workshop they worked at, have been. I assume we will soon have a protest on The Mall by motor mechanics angry at having their reputations besmirched. Mechanics are privy to a lot of secrets, and I have certainly never suspected any of the chhotas of going in for burglary as a side-line.
Perhaps the most relieved person is the Lahore CCPO, at nobody suggesting his castration (chemical or otherwise). The criticism that hit him was tending in that direction, but it did not happen. But certainly, it did seem as if someone was trying to create the impression that he was guilty. Luckily for him, no court will listen to mere declarations of guilt to convict, and certainly not to order punishment, especially one not in the books.
I suppose no one is suggesting chemical castration for the Excise DG who is supposed to have conned the CM into granting a liquor licence for a new hotel. So, Usman Buzdar emerges from the whole affair without a stain on his character, but sober, much to his regret. It is the Excise DG, it seems, who goes staggering around with breath that makes drunk anyone to whom he merely says good morning.
But you end up wondering why the liquor licence has caused so much of a problem when road rage in Islamabad is causing a judge to be shot at. Yes, Judge Jehangir Awan overtook someone by cutting in front of him, but when he tried to get some petrol at a pump, the other fellow turned up and would not let the matter go. If the good judge had entered the judiciary so that he could overtake hoi olloi with impunity, the other driver, Chaudhry Khurram, had not had his wife elected an MPA so that anyone could enjoy this impunity. So, he drew his gun (which everyone carries around, especially if your wife is a PTI MPA) and engaged in a favourite cliché of Western films when one gunslinger shoots at the other’s feet to make him dance. That is a bit extreme, is it not? Especially since the lady MPA could have moved a privilege motion, or at least an adjournment motion against traffic, in the House. If the Islamabad CTO was anything like the Lahore CCPO, he would have said the traffic was not responsible in any way whatsoever, and it was all the motorist’s fault.