To the more important issues, then

It wasn’t at all a lethargic week. Met a lot of deadlines and couldn’t read enough to have material to write an entire article on a certain something. Secondly, there was this guilt that I named my article on 9 leftover meals ‘naulakha,’ whereas I am told it’s called Nauratan, which sounds inaccurate too because of Mughal-e-Azam’s nine gems or number of entertainers. Naulakha is what Jia Pradha seeks desperately from Amitab in Sharabi. Well, here’s another improvisation: a satratan or satranga for you or Gurumatta, if u r a Sikh.

1. I don’t know if it is patriotism that makes me think that Pakistani team was better than England’s or is it the hatred for the British colonisers to digest they are the number one team. Whatever the case, being a Pakistani, one just can’t help resist a conspiracy theory after losing a series. My lifelong experience of tape ball cricket makes me an expert on cricket too and I smell a rat. Umar Akmal didn’t perform till Adnan was given a spot. The team held back perhaps wanting Afridi to regain the crown in the shorter version of the game. I hope it is wrong but it would lend weight to my misgivings if we see the charge changing hands.

2. Mansoor Ijaz had a rehearsal session for his statement. The whole episode appears to be a TED Talk more than a statement in the Supreme Court. In most probability his deposition will either lack sufficient proof or Zahid Bukhari will challenge it for hearing it in his absence. There must be technical details to it of which I am unaware but which the common eye will not miss. The more SC jumps into it, the greater the suspicions it will raise.

3. The news of Meera’s engagement came as a breath of fresh air before the news channels went berserk with it. Tickers broke the tiniest details of their relationship followed by videos and pictures. Investigative reporters set a new standard that day. Not only do I now know all about the past of the lucky guy and the circumstances of their bond but that his father is a much married man too.

4. NATO has been allowed to resume air supply for perishable items in deference to divine orders. They are being flown on ‘humanitarian grounds’, said Ahmed Mukhtar. Funny that many insist the supply chain was not discontinued even for a single day after Salala. Mukhtar’s statement pacifies the religious group and parliament takes the blame. The real operators get away Scot free.

5. Air force takes a page out of the army’s book…not that it was not dealing in real estate already. Taking a cue from Fauji cornflakes to Fauji Kalaf (starch), they have started assembling PACPADS, a copy of iPad in a factory that produces J-17 Thunder fighter jets with Chinese help. The manufacturer is a Hong Kong company. The question about how much the venture cost shall forever remain unanswered. It is priced at $200, cheaper than iPad or Galaxy Tab. But, would it be able to compete with Chinese tablets that are less than $200 and are already available in Pakistan?

6. I recently applied for a US partnership programme for journalists and since the documents were supposed to be posted on a PO Box, all the private and fancy courier services refused to be of any help. I learnt that day that GPO charges only Rs 35 to deliver the same, besides fleecing people with overcharged car tokens. They also confirmed that it takes 24 hours and gave me a computerised slip. I have been thinking: A few more accessible post offices and they can wipe out their deficit and poor reputation.

7. As for the Balochistan Congressional Resolution, I hope Sethi sahib is right and it is just a stunt by an insane man who’s had a lobotomy. It has made the early resolution of the Salala aftermath, already a done thing, of mending fences, a bit difficult. The possibility of fair elections in the troubled province has received a severe setback.

I was told by many friends that my phone was tapped. They believed it because of a certain tick tick sound that comes right at the start of the call and after a while at fixed intervals. Only Allah knows the truth besides the competent bugging authority. However, being tapped boosts the ego for some reason. It can be life saving too because everybody then knows I am neither an agent nor an Ahmedia. (All the divine verses pasted on the door by my old fashioned mom won’t be helpful because for all the prohibitions, Ahmedi mothers may be doing the same).

Last Monday, after coming back from KLF way past midnight, somehow a guy crossed the locked main gate and started banging the door of my house. I have this tendency of chickening out at times where courage is needed. That was one chickening moment and I didn’t open the door. Verbal invectives were communicated through the door and a glass window before he left. He would have been very disappointed, if he was a dacoit, and had broken in because I am the only valuable thing in the house. He would’ve been extremely disappointed if he was a mullah to find out that I am not an Ahmedi. If it was just a warning, I stand warned, if they tell me what I am to avoid. I can be dealt with anywhere since I’m out most of the time. Terrorising the whole family like this is foul play.

The writer is a member of the band Beygairat Brigade.


  1. Thank u Paul Johnston for keenly following this column and rectifying or clarifying its shortcomings.

    • Cheers!
      Suddenly realised I knew next to nothing about Pakistan so please forgive any seemingly stupid questions.
      By the way saw the song on The BBC webpage and thought it was great.

  2. Stay SAFE DEAR ! U know Who were "THEY " ! I am reciting Aetul Kursi for u … Do the same for yourself … it is UNFORTUNATE but it's a FACT that our elders brought up a Battalion of "CHOORS" in the disguise of "CHOKIDARS " … MAY ALLAH HELP u & SAVE u from Mullah-Military alliance of Pakistan..ameen

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