Raising a stink by going to jail

After Pervez Musharraf and Amjad Islam Amjad, it was the turn of Zia Mohyeddin. Of the latter two, I don’t know who will be most regretted. Now I do not doubt that General Musharraf will be regretted, especially by his family circle, but I don’t think the regrets at his death are going to be far beyond that circle.

Perhaps the only person to regret his passing more than that of the literary figures will be Imran Khan. Rumours of his being illiterate are not true. Credible sources say that he writes with his hand (as opposed to Usman Buzdar, who single-handedly revived the lost art of writing with his feet). However, read he does not. He doesn’t watch Urdu dramas much, so he must have missed much of Amjad Islam Amjad’s dramatic oeuvre. And perish the thought that he ever read his poetic oeuvre. Zia Mohyuddin was more to do with the performing acts, but one doesn’t associate his sort of work, which was serious, with Imran’s inclinations, which seem to incline more towards melodrama and slapstick.

Imran and Muusharraf had this much in common, that neither had the reputation of being an intellectual. However, military men who have gone through the staff college and the armed forces war course are surprisingly well-read. Imran did go to Oxford, but that doesn’t necessarily mean much.

He went ahead and announced that the ‘Jail Bharo Tehrik’ would start on Wednesday. I wouldn’t like to comment on whether it will succeed or not, but I would certainly like to know when the next step will take place, the return of all titles granted by the Government.

I suppose those titles would cover Nawab Bahadur and Khan Bahadur, but would they cover Khan Sahib? So what do you call Imran then? And what about any Nawabzadas? Most are not the descendants of rulers of princely states (who prefer the title Sahibzada), but of people who had received the title of Nawab Bahadur. Where do they stand? Can they surrender the title?

I wonder if Shaukat Tarin will star in the Jail Bharo Tehrik.  His must rank as the noisiest arrest not to have taken place. The news of the FIA being allowed to arrest him was given more play than most arrests are given. If I was him, I would get out of the country. Not legally, you see. Perhaps in the back of a truck carrying dollars to Afghanistan.

Imran might have heard of ‘Jail Bharo Tehriks’ from before Partition, and might imagine that they’re all fun and games. I’ve heard that when visiting hours were over, some visitors might choose to stay in prison overnight. Jail discipline had broken down so much that it was possible. Sometimes prisoners would leave with their friends at night, and not come back till the next day when they would sneak in with the visitors. I’ve also heard of the 1942 Quit India movement, but that was spearheaded by Congress, not the Muslim League. So I don’t suppose any party wanting to be on the same page use it as an example.

One person who will not help fill the jails is Ali Wazir, the PTM MNA who was jailed for anti-Army remarks. He is acknowledged as spiritual leader by some, not because of his incarceration, but his hairstyle. Well, now that he is free, hopefully he will get a haircut.

I would imagine that the IMF would stop him. After all, they raised gas prices so much that people are going to cut back on bathing, and so one will have to walk the streets holding one’s nose. The IMF is not really anti-health, because they’ve had us impose a really massive tax on cigarettes, which should make some people at least stop smoking. Or at least cut down.

Now that would really make the ‘Jail Bharo Tehrik’ a success. Imagine all those unwashed PTI supporters in jail. In a trice, the atmosphere would be too nauseous even for the most hardened jail staff.




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