The War on Drugs

I regard as ominous the busting of a cartel controlling a third of Erope’s cocaine. The bust apparently involved people being arrested in Dubai, which is up the road from Qatar, where the football World Cup is taking place. I mean, what do you do at the World Cup if there are no matches to watch? Snort cocaine, that’s what.

PTI supporters also think it’s significant that Mian Nawaz Sharif was vacationing in Europe at the time. They think he instigated the raid, and bribed the European police forces to take advantage of the Cuptaan being laid low by his bullet injuries to attack the cocaine cartel.

An example closer home of the iniquities being piled on Imran Khan was the PDM government relentlessly ordering the Navy to conduct a raid at sea, in which it seized 580 kg of drugs. Imran would never have allowed such mindless police brutality.

And the drugs would have ended up in the Toshakhana. Isn’t that the real Toshakhana story? How first all drug hauls had to be deposited there, and then had the hauls withdrawn. In advance of the PTI spokesmen, let me say that not a single gramme was sold. All withdrawals were consumed on the premises of PM House, and there was not a single paisa of corruption committed.

Meanwhile, Imran not just lives though the travails of living without privileged access, alleviated somewhat by the prescriptions of opioids as painkillers for his bullet wounds, but also through the travails of seeing Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa replaced as COAS by Gen Asim Munir.

General Bajwa has been given a post-retirement barrage by the PTI Virtual Warriors, with fingers pointed at his alleged acquisition of property. ISPR has had to deny it. General Bajwa was the COAS who not only got an extension from the PTI, but also did not deny the frequent statement that the government and the military were on the same page.

I’ve noticed that Imran no longer talks about the COAS knowing about any corruption by the PM. General Asim is the DG ISI who was sacked as early as 2019 for telling the PM about what was going on in Punjab. The problem with that story is that it not only shows the COAS as complicit, but the new DG ISI, Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.

Faiz Hameed, by the way, has started a new tradition, that of retiring when your senior is promoted, and you thereby lose the prospect of further promotion. Lt Gen Azhar Abbas, General Bajwa’s CGS, has also taken that route. The fourth most senior officer has decided to soldier on, it seems.

It’s a new one on supersession. I can understand a CGS making way so that the new COAS can pick his own man for what is perhaps the most important post in GHQ. I can also understand an officer passed over for promotion retiring, so that they will not have to salute onetime juniors. But if a senior is promoted? I was once told by a retired |Indian lieutenant-general that the promotion to four-star rank and appointment as the COAS was a matter of luck, and three stars was as far as one could go on competence.

I’m not sure Imran is particularly interested in all this, particularly with England visiting. They seem to have taken his assurance that the Long March wouldn’t interrupt the match so much to heart that they put up the highest one-day score by any team, helped ahid Mahmood, the legspinner, supposed to be Pakistan’s new secret weapon, who did take four wickets, but did conceded 235 runs, the most by any debutant on debut. England scored 306-4 that first day, which was more than Australia got against South Africa at Sydney in 1910. Which was 494/6.

Sticking closer to home, the smog has been making life hard, not so much because we can’t get about, and because of the effects on our breathing, and the watering in thew eyes it causes. Look, Igave up smoking years ago, but I’ve found that my chances of lung cancer, other cancers and other dread diseases are once again increasing. I’m just waiting for some doctor to tell me to stop breathing.



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