CITY NOTES: How not to keep a lid on things

There should be a lesson, not just for Imran Khan’s media managers, but for media managers everywhere, in the Mohsin Baig case. Communications Minister Murad Saeed filed a complaint against him because of something he had said on a TV talkshow. The FIA then raided Mohsin Baig’s house, and the rest is history. However, instead of suppressing what he said, instead of the matter being restricted to the arrest, the episode provided an opportunity to repeat Baig’s allegations. I won’t repeat them here because this is a family newspaper (not to mention that I’m scared of the FIA),but the rumours had been doing the rounds for some time, and now they were finally out in the open. In fact, there’re even memes doing the rounds. They probably didn’t get into the media because there was no evidence. There still isn’t, unless you count the smear campaign against Baig.

It includes accusing him of being linked to a particular organization, which is what is meant when it is said that the PTI is on the same page. Now either there’s an attempt to smear that organization, or that organization is trying to send a message to Imran about the kind of material it has up his sleeve. It’s said that there was asecond, late-night raid on Baig’s house after the first one, but they still haven’t found a USB on which he has secured a recording which the PM wanted so very badly.

The problem is that the FIA is still police. Finding a USB, something which can easily be disguised as something else, is not really its forte. Now if it was a murder weapon (preferably an axe with  blood and brain matter on the blade, not a firearm), they would feel most comfortable. Of course, the best thing is if they were told to recover stolen property, and that would most preferably be a buffalo. now, why would the CIA get in buffalo theft? Maybe it ate the USB.

It was thus almost as if Religious Afairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri was trying to direct attention from Mohsin Baig, Imran Khan and Murad Saeed onto himself. He wrote to Imran Khan asking him to declare International Women’s Day Hijab Day. If the object was to get women’s organizations to jump on him like a ton of bricks, he succeeded. However, I’m not sure if the event in Karnataka would not be demeaned if it is simply used as an opportunity for India-bashing.

I’m not sure how India would react to any India-bashing. It didn’t react very well to the Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, quoting India’s example in Singaporean Parliament to say that politicians were liable being accused of crimes, when he said that almost half the MPs in the Lok Sabha have criminal cases against them, of rape and murder. Problem is, it happens to be true.

According to research, 43 percent of MPs elected in 2019 had cases registered against them, 29 percent cases of rape or murder. That was just over double (109 percent) the number in 2014. But India tries to keep things under its hat. Take the case of Major J. Suresh, who left the IndianArmy and came out as gay in 2020 . He wasn’t an American, or he would have tried to remain in the Army, get promoted and claim compensation for the homophobia he faced. But he was an Indian, so the gay community there kept quiet.

Anyhow, a filmmaker, Onir, who uses one name only, tried to get the Indian Defense Ministry to give him an NOC for a biopic. The Ministry refused. Does it know that it is letting itself in for a lot of squawks of ‘homophobia’? Or perhaps not, for the companies that want to sell arms to India will make sure that nothing is said.

Doesn’t India know that you can’t cover up anything in this digital world? The Indian Army’s atrocities in not just Kashmir, but also the North East ultimately come out. Then the courts got approached over promotions. And Major Suresh came out in a blog post on the Internet. You can’t get more public than that.

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