Taking one’s history from comic books

CITY NOTES

Well, it’s official. Imran Khan thinks we’ve all got the mental acuity of Usman Buzdar. He clarified his remark about Mir Sadiq in Abbottabad by saying that he meant Shehbaz Sharif. Who did he think he was going to fool? Usman Buzdar, that’s who.

Buzdar had given two pieces of evidence that he would accept that explanation. The first is that he was perhaps the only person in Pakistan who didn’t have any problems with Imran’s telling the world that Germany and Japan were neighbouring countries that solved their mutual problems after World War-II. (It’s ironic that they were separated by the USSR, which as Russia is supposed to have been the reason for the conspiracy against Imran.) The second is that he doesn’t even know how to write a resignation.

No, it isn’t that it was illegible, but it was addressed to Imran Khan, not the Governor. Governor Umar Sarfraz Cheema, who is hanging on for dear life has rejected the resignation, even though it was accepted by his predecessor. Governor Cheema is also going to reject the annexation of the Punjab, which was done by the Raj back in 1949, and the erstwhile Kingdom was brought under a British Lieutenant-Governor. He is also likely to shift the capital to Sheikhupura, in honour of Farah Khan ‘Gogi’, who belongs to that district. If the old Sikh kingdom is re-established, it would mean the return of Jat rule, for which he as a Cheema is pre-eminently qualified, though no doubt he would face competition from Shahbaz Gill. Of course, there’s also Ch Pervez Elahi, the last Jat ruler of the Punjab.

However, I won’t take the Mir Sadiq remark too seriously. I mean, should we take our history from Imran? We’ve already had an actual descendant of Mir Sadiq (the guy who betrayed Tipu Sultan). Iskander Mirza, President of Pakistan, and who actually invited Ayub to impose the first Martial Law.

Maybe there should be an extension of the caretaker principle, not just from elections, but also to whenever a no-confidence motion is moved. Compare how the PTI itself smoothly took over from caretakers. Also, whenever there’s a caretaker situation, it shouldn’t be just the Cabinet, but also the President and Governors. The PTI has shown how even these offices can be weaponised.

As for other offices, the PTI is showing the way: it is moving the Supreme Judicial Council against the Chief Election Commissioner. The problem is that the new one will have to be appointed by the consultation of the PM and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. Both, according to the PTI, are beyond the pale. Who would the PTI want or CEC? Sahibzada Jahangir? (brought to our TV screens straight from Madinah as ‘Cheekoo Bhai’) Or maybe Anil Mussarat?

I’m not sure Imran is looking at this particular issue, being too busy watching events in Sri Lanka, where the Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, showed a lack of fighting spirit and resigned. The President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is his brother, but he swore in Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe for a fourth term. Wickramasinghe has contested presidential elections before, always losing. But  he keeps popping up as PM. He has seen a lot of violence in his time, and the first time he became PM, back in 1993, it was because the PM had to take over as President, as the President Ranasinghe Premadasa, was assassinated.

It isn’t just him that is looking abroad. Shehbaz Sharif led a troupe of ministers to the UK, to consult Mian Nawaz about the issues facing the government. It was good to see everyone off the ECL, and it was also good to see that the FIA suddenly realised it didn’t want to prosecute Mian Shehbaz or Hamza Shehbaz any more. The FIA probably wants to prosecute Imran and Buzdar, but it will have to wait until some case is registered against them.

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