Raising a stink in Islamabad

It seems everyone wants Imran Khan to declare the date of his Long March, but no one is willing to provide him the sort of help he needs to do so. The Punjab Home Minister was supposed to be key in this respect, as he was supposed to arrange the special forces that would herald Haqiqi Azadi into Islamabad.

Lt-Col (retd) Hashim Dogar, until recently the incumbent, apparently refused to play ball, and resigned. Instead, Senior Minister Aslam Iqbal has got the job.

Punjab Home Minister resigns, replaced by Mian Aslam Iqbal. He must be raring to go, though he is handicapped by the fact that no date has been set. He has yet to assign those with the important function of supervising the deghs that will be needed at the expected sit-in, or those who will supervise the PortaPotties that will be very much needed, unless the workers are expected to crowd on the grass verges and do their business there.

Imran may nor may not bring about Haaqiqi Azadi, but he will raise an awful stink in Islamabad. In 2015, Mian Nawaz’s nerve held. Will Shehbaz’s? Or is his nose more sensitive? Or do youthias bring a hitherto untried scent to the table?

Actually, Imran is caught in a cleft stick. If he delays much longer, he won’t find many willing to freeze in the Open in Islamabad, but at the same time, the longer he holds out, the less stick will be raised by his party workers. While the strategy might be to smoke Shehbaz out, the odour will hit him first. And he will be so close that even handkerchiefs soaked in Cologne would not do the job.

Imran might then regret having got bail in the foreign-funding case, and drop his unaccountable prejudice against being arrested. He has a good reason to want to stay free: you can get anything in jail, including drugs, but you can’t get organic food.

I wonder if Imran is acquainted with the Imran series. That series of spy novels could have been commissioned by the PTI, because it has as its hero Imran, who is a Pakistani version of James Bond. The two Imrans differ, because the fictional Imran is a bachelor and faithful to his fiancée Julia. However, the real Imran would like to be a superspy.

One intriguing similarity is that the fictional Imran has a faithful servant, Tiger. The real Imran has a Tiger Force. In fact, he now has a protective force, which is commanded by Omer Sarfraz Cheema, the former Punjab Governor, who has accepted the office of CM’s Information Adviser.

Information has always caused problems in Punjab. Fayyazul Hasan Chauhan was twice minister, while CM’s Information Adviser was first Shahbaz Gill. He was sacked because Usman Buzdar felt he was not promoting his achievements en ough. Gill went on to replace Naeemul Haque on Khan’s own team after he died, and Dr Firdaus Ashiq Awan, after being in the wilderness after hsving been Special Assistant to the PM, accepted the slot. Buzdar sacked her too last August. Cheema should note that she had to after her fights with the AC Sialkot at a Ramzan Bazar, and with the PPP’s Abdul Qadir Mandokhel on National TV. So long as he avoids any fights, and keeps Ch Pervez happy, he should be OK.

By the way, I saw a very bad clip on the Net recently, on which people were shown a picture of the new Sindh Governor, Khalid Tessori, and asked to identify it. They variously said it was a dacoit, a robber, a killer, and so on. No one identified his true profession, which is jeweller.

The last time the MQM had the pick, it was of a doctor, Dr Ishratul Ibad, he was appointed in 2002 under Musharraf and remained in office until 2016. I wonder if Tessori will last that long?

I also wonder if he has forgotten how to design jewellery? But then maybe looks are deceptive. Behind that menacing exterior may lie a person who is happiest among his books, and who thinks flowers are the souls of little children who have died young. Maybe he is moved to tears by a beautiful sunset, and prefers to spend his mornings painting still-lifes. Or maybe he will break your knees rather than swear you in as a minister. Maybe he saysof people, “He sleeps with the fishes.”





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