CITY NOTES: Getting away from accountability

I am amazed at the reaction on the net to the Supreme Court’s decision in the review petition filed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa. The decision was obviously important to Justice Isa, but it was hardly one of those moments in national life where one would be inspired to do something radical, like change one’s political affiliation.

I’m surprised that the reaction has been so negative. Makes me suspect that the PTI is behind it, and not just the PTI, but the fans of Shehzad Akbar within it because a lot of it was about accountability, and how the judges were escaping it. Shehzad Akbar also has a starring role in Bashir Memon’s claims that he had been told, as DG FIA, to stitch up Mr Justice Isa. Memon is a police officer, so don’t tell me no one ever told him, during his entire career, to fix up somebody who disturbed the sleep of someone important. So he would know what he was being told.

I don’t know if he refused because it was wrong, or because he simply couldn’t. I mean, kudos to him for refusing to register a terrorism case against Maryam Nawaz, but if he had agreed, he would probably have wondered how to register the case. I know cops come up with these ridiculous stories about police encounters, but Maryam the terrorist? That would be a whole new level. And I’m afraid Memon was not up to it. Imran will probably turn to more imaginative police officers now. The PTI reply to the charges is not to deny them, but to say that Memon has been promised a senatorship by the PML(N). Would it be able to deliver in 2024? And Memon’s political connection was supposed to have been Asif Zardari?

Speaking of police officers, the supporters of the estranged Jahangir Tareen, whose father was a police officer, had a meeting with Imran. They seemed happy with the assurance that justice would be done. What is Jahangir Tareen worried about? What does he know about Imran that we don’t? Why was he worried about fair treatment? Does he believe that Imran can interfere in the process of justice? Because the only person who can assure that he won’t interfere is someone who can.

For example, I would never make such an assurance. Nobody would believe me even if I did, and rightly so. Still, Tareen has obviously got more support in the TI than the members who called on Imran. These were the members who were willing to go to the PM for Tareen. What about those who want to maintain plausible deniability? I wonder how many those are? I wonder if they too are just weathercocks, like the voters of NA 179, who didn’t repeat the splendid victory of Faisal Vawda in the general election. The PPP man pipped the PML-N’s Miftah Ismail. Miftah has been Finance Minister, but towards the end of the PML-N regime, technically seeking a seat in the house, which he couldn’t find.

Miftah might have lost, but he will be pleased to know that Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah will not be forced to take a cup of hemlock. Only PTI CMs are allowed to lose by-elections and live. Otherwise, maybe Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would have got a fish dropped off outside his house as if to say, “Tonight Murad Ali Shah sleeps with the fishes.”

I’m sure Faisal Vawda is chuffed by the result. After all, he had won the seat, not come in fifth. Imran should think, because now it’s not a matter of picking up seats, but keeping the ones you have. He hasn’t even got any good news from the field, because not only did Shaheen Shah Afridi, who might one day replace him as the recipient of the youth vote, get four wickets, but only Fawad Alam exploited the Zimbabwean attack to get a century. Pakistan collapsed to 476, instead of posting the 20000-plus score they should have.

Being them inside four days shows that Pakistan could have batted a day more. It seems as if it’s open season, what with Sri Lanka slaughtering Bangladesh, though there’s a chance they might escape with another draw. I wonder why somebody doesn’t take on Ireland or Afghanistan. Maybe it’s time for Imran to take his gear out. Meanwhile, it seems India has set a record, for the number of coronavirus deaths there. Well, we also posted our first 200-plus deaths in a single day. And we also cancelled exams.


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