CITY NOTES: Social distancing in Gujranwala | Pakistan Today

CITY NOTES: Social distancing in Gujranwala

The protests in Thailand do not really make sense, as they are against the monarchy. The real question is not whether the monarch is corrupt or not. How can a monarch be corrupt? We have got a precedent in Muhammad Shah Rangila, the last Mughal Emperor who had an empire, and who suffered the sack of Delhi at the hands of Nadir Shah. He had two trusted confidants, whose every request he fulfilled. So, if one gave these confidants what they wanted, one could get whatever one wanted from the Padishah.

Later on, recently in fact, we institutionalised the confidants, under the name of pharus (those who take). You could not bribe the Great Man (the minister, secretary, judge, SHO, whoever), you gave the money to his pharu. The type has not entirely disappeared in Naya Pakistan, which is not a good sign. I wonder if the Thai king has got a pharu?

One of the reasons protesters object to the monarchy is his nexus with the military, who stages a coup if it does not like the election results. At present, there is a military-approved government in place. The former army chief, who took over in 2014, was anointed PM after ‘controversial’ elections last year.

That’s what the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) says happened here, that’s what happened in 2018 (Though we got an ex-cricketer instead of a former army chief). On the other hand, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) says that the people are tired of the pharus. Did anyone notice any social distancing at the Gujranwala rally? Any distribution of hand sanitizer? At last, Imran will be able to blame the coronavirus on Nawaz Sharif, as his instincts told him to.

The Kyrghyz president has resigned because of street protests against election results, handing the post over to an opposition premier. Imran thinks it is a very poor example and shows that the side is being let down. How could he have resigned without any charges of corruption against him? And to be replaced by someone who had come from jail – It sounds like a nightmare. An election, a refusal to accept results, and a convicted criminal being let into Parliament. And in all of this, no mention of the Kyrgyz army chief or intelligence director-general. How can they run politics like that?

The protests in Nigeria did not result in the fall of the government, but it did result in the dissolution of the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) of the police. The protesters had an unaccountable objection of SARS’s methods, which included encounters and other custodial deaths. I wonder how the police here would react to anyone protesting such deaths. The Lahore capital city police officer (CCPO) would probably tell them where to get off.

He must be a disappointed man at the arrest of Abid Malhi, the main suspect in the motorway gang-rape. The CCPO had more or less said it was the victim’s fault, which might explain why Malhi escaped the Lahore, Kasur and Sheikhupura police forces, and was only caught by the Faisalabad police. Either the cops have grown inefficient, or they wanted him to get away, or maybe Malhi did not pay enough attention to the fact that the police had taken his family into custody.

Turning to other matters, I wonder what advice the CCPO has for Ghous Ali Shah, the former Sindh CM, who at 87 has disinherited his sons and grandsons because they had planned to murder him. They objected, he claimed, to his second marriage and his son by that marriage. I am sure the CCPO would have told him that that is what one gets for taking a second wife.

And while polygamy is allowed in our religion, it is a risky undertaking in this part of the world. Still, it is not a preventive against rape, or rather gang-rape, of which there seems to be a rash. It is not just about the one we had here, but also the one in India involving Thakur men and a Dalit girl. And there’s been one in Bangladesh, where five men were found guilty and sentenced to death for criminally assaulting a 15-year-old in 2012. The CCPO probably agrees with the European Union Commissioner who thinks there should not be a death sentence for rape, gang or otherwise.