Out of Africa

Somehow, everything seems to be happening in South-East Africa. Telejournalist Arsad Sharif was killed in Kenya. Then Rishi Sunak became the first person of Asian origin to become Prime Minister of the UK. Both his grandfathers have migrated to the \UK from Africa, his paternal grandfather from Kenya, his maternal from Tanzania. And then Pakistan got beaten in the T20I World Cup by Zimbabwe, which is in the same geographical area.

None of the news has been good. The murder of Arshad Sharif was an unmitigated disaster. Cricket seems to creep in, for the man that Arshad admired so much, Imran Khan, had captained Pakistan, and must be joining the rest of us in rueing this loss. And then the picking of an Asian as British PM should not be as much stressed as the fact that 10 Downing Street has been taken over by a practicing Brahman. So what is his grandfather was from Gujranwala? No one has ever seen Rishi there downing chjirras.

There are so many questions swirling around Arshad’s death. But what seems fairly well established is that the Kenya Police is ahead of the Punjab Police and other Pakistani police forces. One of the allegations is that it acted as a hit squad, which seems a good way of enhancing foreign exchange earnings.

The extent of the PTI’s dislike of the current military leadership is shown by its hinting that it was behind the killing. No one has so far blamed Nawaz Sharif, which shows a clear dereliction of duty. No one has bothered about recovering either Arshad’s mobile or laptop, which would reveal a lot. Those items, I am afraid, have probably become case property, which is another way of saying that some Kenyan sargeant’s kid is using them to play video games.

Frankly, there are still two vital links missing from the case. The first is a lalkara, which explain who did the murder and why. None of the Kenyan cops declaimed this particular longwinded exposition. Also, so far, no old enmity has come to light. Remember, an old enmity must be at least three generations old, and must have started with a buffalo theft. The Kenyan police would probably use cows, either being Masai or policing Masais. But the absence of a bovine element is not understandable.

Instead, we have Azam Swatri claim that he was tortured during incarceration by a major-gneral and a brigadier of the ISI. Either the good senator is guilty, in the words of the late great Winston Churchill, of a terminological inexactitude, or we are to believe that the ISI has very senior officers conduct investigations personally.

Even where torture is part of the culture, in the police (the Punjab Police, not just the Kenyan), you don’t see many SHOs personally carrying out interrogations, no matter how hard of hand they are. I blame Indian cop films, where they show the IPS officer, obviously of SP rank, beating up a suspect. As for the CIA or the UK Secret Service, torture is usually carried out by NCOs. I can imagine the ISI putting JCOs to work at this task, but not officers, let alone senior ones.

But to get back to Rishi Sunak. Apart from being the first British PM to have pujas performed in Downing, he’s a gift to cartoonists because of his ears, which are big and which stick out. It’s said that ears tell you about the whole personality, and it sounds right in Sunak’s case, because the received wisdom is that jug-eared people are sociable.

Seriously, though, this is the UK’s Obama moment. And though this is the first time a British PM is married to an Indian heiress, the tradition of being married to an heiress is at least a century-old.

Sunak is the son of a doctor. And the first Indian-origin Irish PM, Leo Varadkar, who was only Ireland’s first gay PM, was also a doctor. Sunak’s father, though s doctor, is not gay. Varadkar was the youngest person to become PM, and so is Sunk, at leat since William Pitt the Younger, whose father was not a doctor, but Pitt the Elder, as the Earl of Chatham PM himself. Pitt the Younger was so young, only 24 when he became PM. At that age, you can’t become an MNA over here. Anyhow, older MPs (almost everybody) would threaten to pinch his cheeks and offer him sweets. I wonder if the Opposition in the Commons has any plans.




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