Masterstroke in Burewala

It came at last, and the strategy of the Cuptan explained why he won the World Cup 30 years back. He did not say that the events of May 9 were committed by the Sharif brothers and their progeny. I for one had expected this, and indeed had wondered why the PTI had not accused them already.

Instead, we got the masterstroke. Imran blamed the agencies for doing what they had done. Yet such is Imran’s loyalty to those who his opponents say had made him PM, that he did not condemn them. He merely said there should be an investigation into what had happened.

Of course, he has already told us what result that investigation should reveal, or else he would reject it with more vehemence than he made it.

Well, now he’s saying that he condemns the incident, but it might be because he has finally realized that the mayhem on May 9 upset the very people who hopes will bring him back to power, just as they did in 2018. However, condememn it as he does he is not surrendering those who have taken refuge in Zaman Park, even if they are wanted by the police.

Perhaps the authorities should learn from the attempt on the life of Jamaat-e-Islami Amir Sirajul Haq, by a suicide bomber who blew himself up in a attack on his motorcade, in Zhob. The Jamaat has been around for some time, but the news did not really get much traction. I suspect that this is because the event happened in Zhob, in Balochistan, and that is a much neglected province.

That means that the basic mistake of the authorities was trying to arrest Imran in Lahore, then doing so in Islamabad.  Both are not just media centres, with lots of people busy covering, but lots of people likely to be affiliated with the PTI. Now if the arrest had gone down in Burewala (district Vehari), or Tarandah Muhammad Panah (district Bahawalpur), I doubt if the Supreme Court would have got him to appear before the Supreme Court yet. Not because of any refusal by the police, but because of the difficulty of getting him to come from there.

Of course, there would have been prior logistical problems. The first would be getting Imran to go to a place like that. Both are excellent places, no doubt, but hardly centres of enlightened thought and civilisation. Neither has a symphony orchestra or a museum of modern art, and the only drug dealer is in the local graveyard, where he sells ganja. Even heroin addicts have to bring their own supply, what to speak of cokeheads.

The second problem would be getting the police there. I don’t know if the Islamabad police has anybody who can ride mules, which is the preferred mode of transport in Burewala, or camels, which is how patrolling is done in Tarandah Muhammad Panah, which is how police patrolling is done there. However, I suspect that motor vehicles, while not unknown, might not work. In other words, it isn’t just Imran who wouldn’t be caught dead in a place like Burewala or Tarandah Muhammad Panah, but also the Islamabad police.

By the way, there was an election last Sunday, but in Turkey, not Punjab. Under the new constitution, they have both legislative and presidential elections together. It’s the French system rather than the American, designed to let the President get a legislative majority. It’s become interesting because there’s to be a run-off. Now if Erdogan’s opponent, Kilicdaroglu, is elected, he will have a minority in the National Assembly, and will be unable to execute even those parts of his programme which do not require constitutional amendments.

We might need to watch Turkey closely, because Imran would like a presidential system, and I would suspect that Turkey’s example might suit him. I suspect that is why he wants a two-thirds majority. I’m not sure he has one in the Senate, which he will need to amend the Constitution.

Footnote to these notes: Shoaib Hashmi has passed away. He was one of the pioneers of PTV, but I knew rather distantly as a senior teacher in the Economics Department at Government College. I cannot claim to have known him, as I didn’t do my post graduation in Economics. I had heard of him as a powerhouse in the Dramtic Club, but that was before my time. It was perhaps odd that he was known academically as a teacher of Econometrics. With his passing, the world is poorer.



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