Botham’s mother-in-law and Banga’s bank

About 40 years ago, English cricketer Ian Botham told the press that Pakistan was “the kind of place to send your mother-in-law for a month, all expenses-paid.” As a comment on Pakistan as well as on Pakistan, it was uncomplimentary.

Now, it seems, the mother-in-law of the Chief Justice of Pakistan has struck back. Yes, her conversation with the wife of Tariq Rahim was taped and made public by mysterious persons, but one of the points that has not received enough attention is that she was praying for him.

She didn’t mention it, but she must have been also praying for her son Amjad Ali, who is being prosecuted for an improper appointment while Solid Waste Management Company Chairman of one Azhar Hayat as Director Procurement, and with whom he allegedly caused a loss to the exchequer of Rs 631 million. How much of the money Azhar actually made, and how much was given to Noon, we don’t know, but we do know that the Anti-Corruption Establishment’s appeal against the LHC granting bail has been taken before the Chief Justice.

No wonder he has managed that very difficult feat, earning the approval of one’s mother-in-law. You would not normally think chief justices had mothers-in-law, but they do. And they have saala saabs.

Well, we know what Botham thought of his mother-in-law, but we don’t know what Mr Justice Bandial thinks of his. He might find the sentiments of the great Australian pacer Dennis Lillee more to his feeling. After Pakistan made 382 for two, with keeper-opener Taslim Arif getting a double hundred. In reply to That was heck of wicket. Not only was that Taslim’s only Test hundred, but6 when play closed with Pakistan on 382 for 2, it had still not saved the follow-on, for Australia had made 607. Australia had batted till the fifth day, taking its time, as rain had washed out the first two days.

Australia’s 607 all out. Lillee took none for 93, off 19 overs. Heart overflowing, he had expressed the wish to be buried under the Faisalabad wicket. The learned Chief Justice might like to be buried somewhere in the Punjab. As it is his native province, he will probably get this wish.

Meanwhile, the raids going on for Ch Pervaiz Elahi must also make him wish he had a mother-in-law praying for him. He was also a little disappointed that PTI workers didn’t rush from Zaman Park to his Zahoor Elahi Road residence (not all that far-off, though one would have to cross at least one busy road.

Perhaps the absence of the PTI people was because while ‘Imran is their red line’, s they say, Ch Pervaiz is not anybody’s line, nor is that line any colour. That line resembles one in non-Euclidean geometry: it doesn’t exist. And because Imran has never studied non-Euclidean geometry (in fact, the Euclidean kind gives him a headache), PTI supporters don’t know or care what is happening to their party President.

Meanwhile, pay attention to Russia, where Valdimir Putin has claimed that Ukrainer sent a drone into the Kremlin to kill him. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky proved his previous job was TV comedian by dignifying this claim with a denial.

We should take this claim seriously. Imran must already be kicking himself for not having thought of it. He’s already claimed to have had two attempts made on his life, the first at Wazirabad, the second at the Judicial Complex Islamabad, when he appeared before the sessions judge there.

Now, it seems, we are entering Bond-movie territory. There is the injection with polonium, then there is the poison which leaves no trace, but only a dead victim who seems to have suffered a heart attack. Oh, and not to forget the rare Asiatic poison favoured by 19th century thriller writers.

But some good news for all countries borrowing from the World Bank. They will probably get more innovative loans, now that the ex-head of Mastercard, Ajay Banga, takes over as World Bank chief. The IMF has already got an Indian Chief Economist.

But I don’t think she is the reason for Pakistan not getting the IMF tranche. We’d have to sell China down the river to get US approval, without which the IMF won’t give approval. In fact, the IMF negotiations (conducted by Ishaq Dar) should have told us that the PTI-government (led by Dar) talks were going to go nowhere.





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