Centenarians and an SHO’s powers

Roedad Khan passed away in Islamabad at the advanced age of 100. That is indeed a great age, but whereas it was one unheard of, now it happens. As a matter of fact, one of my great-uncles reached that age. That now seems the new limit, because neither Roedad Khan nor my great-uncle reached 101.

There seems to have been a transition, as the other great-uncles I had, who attained great ages, passed 80, or at the most 90. Three-figures in life seemed then unheard of, impossible. Even my paternal uncles lived only to over 90, outliving their younger brother, my late father, who only made it to 67, almost 24 years ago.

Another person who passed away, though admittedly not at as advanced an age as Roedad Khan, was Mumtaz SAhafi, whom I remember from the start of my reporting days as a senior. He was a quiet, gentlemanly figure, not given to much speech. Because of that, he was never the life and soul of the party. Reporting involves a lot of waiting around, especially political coverage, where you end up waiting for a meeting to be over, which it never is at the expected time. You need some people to help while away that time. Mumtaz Shafi was not one of those people. He was probably too dignified to start such episodes, and only his occasional contributions showed that he was capable of that sort of attention-grabbing. It probably explained why so many of the senior reporters showed him the sort of regard they had for more ebullient characters.

Going back to Roedad Khan, it would be remiss not to mention that he was the successor to Fateh Khan Bandial as Interior Secretary, which places him in the Zia era. F.K. Bandial is best introduced as the father of Mr Justice Umar Ata Bandial, the previous Chief Justice of Pakistan, whom some regard as a Solomon come to judgement, and others as the font of all that is bad about the justice system. Roedad’s other claim to fame was as an environmentalist. F.K.Bandial’s other claim was being the maternal uncle of Farooq Bandial. What was the glory shed on the Bandial name by the latter? He was the head of the gang which robbed and criminally assaulted the then film star Shabnam. He was first allowed into the PTI, but was then shunted out. No one says Umar Ata was at all involved, and indeed he must have been abroad studying at the tine, but I’m sure that would have been a formative experience.

Anyway, all three Bandials are now in the past. In the present was Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi, whom our school children found more useful than our own President. When our President comes to Lahore, there’s never a holiday because of him. However, when Raisi came to Lahore, the schools and colleges were closed. I wonder why. There were no school children lining the route and waving little Iranian flags, were there? But that is all the more reason to make sure there’s no holiday. That is granted the next day, so that the kids can sleep off all that time spent in the sun.

Meanwhile, there’s a sort of fuss over Chief Minister Maryam Nawqaz’s wearing a police uniform at a police function. There was some (rather ill-natured) speculation on whether becoming a cop was a childhood ambition. It may have been. After all, her later childhood was passed when her father as CM was boss of all the province’s police.

And it is worth keeping in mind that the police is the real government. And the height of ambition of any policeman is to be an SHO. Indeed, it is probably not well known enough that even IGs want to be SHOs. As a matter of fact, all officers above the SHO are supervisors. They are only powerful because the Police Order gave them the powers of an SHO in all the police stations in their jurisdiction. That means DSPs in all the police stations of their circle, SPs in the district, DIGs in their ranges, and the IGP in the province. The CM may send the IGP back to Islamabad by returning his services to the Establishment Division, but he (nor she, as at present) doesn’t have the powers of an SHO. Well, Maryam can dream, can’t she?

One person who may have started dreaming is Ali Zafar. Because his hero Harvey Weinstein has had his harassment conviction overturned.


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