A simple buffalo disease

By the time you read these lines, you will be back from The Village. If for some reason you haven’t been (either because you’re avoiding the cousin who has sworn to kill you, or because you don’t have one), then your neighbour has probably just returned after over a week there.

This year, because the holidays ran from Wednesday to Saturday, if you left on the previous Friday, having got Friday and Monday off, you could spend until Monday (today) morning in The Village, and take the bus to The City to arrive in time to appear at your office (a little late, but so what?).

One of the nice things was that, despite the weather being overcast, we celebrated Eid with the rest of the Ummah, because they observed their 30th day, and we saw the moon despite it being overcast all over the country. Of course, India, Bangladesh, and Burma had theirs on Wednesday, and presumably Malaysia and Indonesia as well, while Niger and Mali had theirs on Tuesday.

One important fact emerged. A Ruet-e-Hilal Committee member said that sightings had to be verified according to the rules of Shariah, and the person making the sighting had to have an ID card. That answers my question about the Qatari diplomat who sees the moon in Islamabad. As he wouldn’t have an ID card, his testimony would be thrown out. Now that a witness in Mali can be interrogated over the phone by someone from Japan, where do you draw the line? This year, we observed Eid because of witnesses in Okara and Charsadda. So why not one in Tashkent? Or London for that matter? Sorry, but those witnesses wouldn’t have Pakistani ID cards.

While everyone in Pakistan went to The Village, Mian Shehbaz Sharif went to Saudi Arabia. There I’m sure MBS must have felt like anyone does when a beggar hurriedly throws a salaam. Here we were discussing whether he had brought enough returns for the spending on the trip, and there MBS was busy rooting around in his pockets.

I remember my father telling me how in the 1930s, during Ramazan, Arab beggars would turn up. Punjab was poor, but still it was richer than Saudi Arabia, and some people made a living fff the difference. Roles are now reversed, it seems.

Anyhow, so it passes. Nothing lasts forever. O.J. Simpson has died. This was the guy who denied killing his wife, and was acquitted in the c riminal trial, but lost the civil lawsuit. He then got sent to jail for armed robbery. He started out as a footballer, and there was even a juice named after him. Did he do it? I don’t know, but he showed that it helps to have clever mouthpieces on your side.

Well not always. Imran Khan is in jail, even though he’s got a lot of mouthpieces on his side. In fact, the mouthpieces and the laypersons are engaged in a struggle for the control of the party. He himself has said that there are black sheep in the party trying to break it up.

Stalwart Shehryar Afridi has said that there are snakes. Everyone has avoided saying it, but they all seem to mean KP CM Ali Amin Gandapur, who has twice met PM Shehbaz Sharif, and has left him unharmed, even though he should have attacked that daku and chor as soon as he saw him. Gandapur did not even give him the fashion advice he seemed to need.

Apart from that, Imran and Afridi were also indicating that anyone who did not howl about the toilet cleaner Bushra Bibi was being dosed with, was clearly one of the snakes. Imran is no OJJ Simpson, so he has bought into the toilet-cleaner theory fully, you see.

The police are not investigating. They are too busy dealing the the anthrax, sorry arsenic, letters sent to judges of the Supreme Court. They did find an important clue: anthrax affects cattle. That has got the police on familiar territory. So far, there was no buffalo in the case, to be taken into custody, no cattle thief to be interrogated (that is, tortured within an inch of his life).

No wonder Mr Justice Yahya Afridi has recused himself from hearing the case, in which Islamabad High Court judges alleged that intelligence agencies were interfering in their work. While he gave reasons, he made no mention of buffaloes.

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