Death of a commando

Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf died in Dubai, at the age of 79, on Kashmir Solidarity Day. None of his supporters said that he died in protest at the oppression of the Kashmiri people by the Indian government. His contributions to the Kashmir cause can be summarized by two words: Kargil and Agra. Need more be said? One could bring up the Lal Masjid episode, but that has nothing to do with the Kashmir cause.

His body was brought to Pakistan, and he was buried in Karachi. There was no attempt to implement the sentence passed by the special court which tried him for high treason (and convicted him): that he be hanged, and if he died abroad, his body was to be hanged. I wouldn’t go into the rights and the wrongs of that sentence, except to say that the Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment (but can a corpse experience punishment?), but it should be remembered that the punishment and conviction stood. No one tried to execute the sentence. Of course not, for he had been COAS, after all, which meant that the Army was upset by the original sentence.

As a matter of fact, the sentence reminds one of what was done to Oliver Cromwell’’s corpse after the Restoration in 1660. His body was dug up and hanged on Tyburn Hill. His crime was having had King Charles I decapitated back in 1649. Cromwell was also responsible for the only Martial Law imposed on the UK, the infamous Rule of the Major-Generals, when the country was divided into 11 military districts, each ruled by a major-general, all under Cromwell, who had the title of Lord Protector. Sure, the treatment of his corpse was barbaric (not to mention that he had been dead two years). But there was never a Martial Law ever imposed on the UK ever again. But we must keep in mind that Cromwell wasn’t a commando.

No English poet was ever treated that way, so I suppose Amjad Islam Amjad had no real worries. He was not just the greatest living Urdu poet, but he was the author of Waaris, which was one of the seminal V serials of the early 1980s. In a pre-cable era, with PTV not just ruling but monopolizing the airwaves, it defined an era, and is still given as an example of how good PV’s plays were.

It’s a little odd how Musharraf’s death on a Sunday preceded, and then the death of Amjad succeeded, the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. That was pretty bad, what with 2500 people dead at least, with bodies being found from the rubble all the ime. It isn’t as bad as the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, in which 86,000 people died. Once again, a natural disaster has shown that national boundaries are merely lines on paper. In 2005, the earthquake involved three countries, China, India and Pakistan. This time, it’s only two.

Meanwhile, someone has persuaded Imran it’s a bad idea to contest all the seats that have been vacated. Even if he was to take oath for one seat (which he won’t), the rest would go through another by-election. That reminds me of the bright spark who threatened to sabotage India’s election in 1991, by filing nominations in all 543 constituencies, and the n threatening to commit suicide. Now if a contesting candidate dies, the polls is countermanded, nd a fresh schedule issued, with new candidates allowed to file, though previous candidates don’t have to refile. So if that candidate killed himself, there would be a postponement in the seats he contested. In other words, the election would get cancelled.

Now if Imran was to contest all those seats, and his prediction that he would be killed came true, what would happen? Imran wouldn’t care, though. He’d be dead. What would become of his Jal Bharo Tehrik then? And by the way, one shouldn’t assume that he won’t have anything after that. Then he would ask that all civil awards, and titles be returned, like Diwan Bahadur, Rai Bahadur, Nawab Bahadur and Khan Bahadur.

Footnote to these notes: A medical report says that Fawad ‘Nelson Mandela’ Chaudhry had alcohol in his blood when he was arrested. Does Rana Sanaullajh have a thing about booze? I mean, Sh Rashid’s blood is being tested, and Ch Pervez Elahi’s alleged bootlegger has been arrested. I wonder why no one’s cracking down on drug dealers. Whatever the truth of the matter, our Nelson should remember that the South African police never got Mandela on that charge.


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