Jail Bharo, but on bail

I’m just a little confused. It was Imran Khan who announced a Jail Bharo Tehreek. And then set such an inspiring example by going to the Lahore High Court for pre-arrest bail. He didn’t take up the judge’s offer to let him into the court even if he was carried in on a stretcher, and walked into court, and stood there to get bailed.

The Jail Bharo Tehreek got underway after the police had to call for prisoners over the megaphone. Apparently that call was meant by the sound of PTI supporters slinking off home, muttering that they had to see a man about a dog.

Those who have been arrested are faced with a dilemma: should they get bail or not? If they are given bail, then they will not be filling the jail, which is the name of the Tehrik. It’s no longer funny. It’s becoming painful to see the PTI embarrass itself. Ch ‘Nelson’ Fawad Chaudhry has stayed away from the fray, probably because his role model, Nelson Mandela, never sponsored a Jail Bharo Tehreek.

One effect of the Tehreek, which should have the PTI worried, is that some of its most loyal supporters are now beginning to question Imran’s wisdom. Those who were impressed not just by Imran’s choice of Usman Buzdar as Punjab CM, but also by the scintillating brilliance of his conversations with Imran Khan on quantum physics, time travel and related topics; those people have suddenly noticed that Imran can make mistakes.

It is going to be a short step from accepting that he can make mistakes, to accepting that he could sell off presents (all under the malign influence of his wife, of course). It is not the same thing, now that Ch Parvaiz Elahi has joined the PTI. Ch Parvaiz apparently brought with him a Supreme Court judge in tow. I won’t mention the name of the judge, because doing so could get me up on a contempt charge.

Judges and jail don’t seem to bother the good people of the USA, where there are a lot of guns out there. In Iowa, for example, a few teens shot their Spanish teacher dead because vof a dispute over a grade. We didn’t have that approach when I was at school. It’s too late now, but I did have teachers who deserved to die.

Someone who didn’t deserve to die were the people whose bodies were recovered in Barkhan, a family of Marris, who had been kidnapped by Sardar Abdur Rehman Khetran, who said the bbodies had been planted, that it was a conspiracy to deprive him of the Sardari of the Khetrans. One of the bodies, that of a woman, turned out not to be the mother, who was recovered alive. The dead woman had been shot in the head twice after being criminally assaulted, has still not been identified. Sardar Khetran has been arrested, even though he’s a provincial minister.

Those who have been killed in the Gaza Strip also didn’t deserve to die, after the Israelis launched what has become an annual attack. Does it work? Or does it just satisfy the domestic audience, and show that Netanyahu is a strong leader who should be kept in office, no matter his faults?

The NAB Chairman has also resigned. I don’t think it is in protest against the Barkhan incident. It’s because he was being asked to do something he didn’t want to. The word is out that the askers were from a particular institution, one which has become used to controlling the government, even though it isn’t.

The Barkhan incident creates a new dimension in the disappeared persons issue, which is plaguing Balochistan in particular, because instead of just terrorists (or just potential ones), politically active Baloch have also been made to disappear. Now it seems that the Sardars will also have to be watched. Forced disappearance was a state prerogative, but what will stop someone who thinks he is the state?

Sardar Khetran is supposed to have a private jail Imran has not specified what place private jails have in his Tehreek.


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