CITY NOTES: Beating the heat


The Chief of Army Staff should not be asked to firefight. First, he had to break the Pakistan cricket team out of its losing streak. After the loss to India, there he was at the World Cup match against New Zealand. The team won. So why didn’t he go to the match with India. Maybe that is something his successor will do. Of course, he may have been talent-spotting. Back in 1992, Gen Asif Nawaz was COAS. He didn’t go to Australia during the World Cup, but if he had, he would have been able to take in one of the matches which Imran Khan captained on his famous campaign.

The members of the team had probably thought that their days of being scouted was over, but if the COAS was personally present, then were there any nerves among any of the players? I would suspect that the most nervous would be Sarfraz, for if he won the Cup, he would still need to do a lot to win approval.

In some respects, he would not find a problem. Sarfraz might be the only person who can make Imran look bright, and Imran is in turn the only person who makes Mian Nawaz Sharif look bright. Mian Nawaz had the advantage of making his military backers feel intellectually superior, which was the edge he had over Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had the disadvantage that he was terrifyingly bright, and made his backers realise it.

Beside winning the Cup, Sarfraz would have to start eating organic food, and bring chaos to his personal life. At the moment, he isn’t reputed to have fathered any illegitimate children. He might want to rectify that. There is some doubt about him, as the PTI thinks he is a corrupt element, but he can’t really be held responsible for some of the shots that have been played, or all the balls the bowlers have bowled.

Maybe the COAS was keeping safe. The Chief of Defence Staff of Ethiopia, Gen Seare Mekonnen, was killed by his bodyguard, in Amhara. The Amhara Governor was also killed by his bodyguard. A coup attempt was made, even though there was no allegation of corruption anywhere. And anyway, only General Mekonnen should have been allowed to carry out a coup. And let there be no mistake: the country’s economy cannot afford anything happening to General Bajwa.

He’s playing an ever more important role in the economy than he would have expected when accepting his commission, what with being a member of the National Development Council, and being the chief guest at a seminar at the National Defence University on the country’s economic problems. With one well-placed paradeground bark of “’Shun!” the economic indicators misbehaving will fall into line. If they don’t, they will only prove that they are traitors.

Will we be looking at ‘selected’ indicators? I doubt it, now that ‘selected’ has been declared an unparliamentary word. Some other words that should be declared unparliamentary: ‘bottletops’, ‘wives’ and ‘illegitimate daughter’. And in future, no parliamentary party will be allowed to select a PM. It will have to hail him by acclamation.

Well, I suppose that’s not a problem in France, where it reached 46˚C. Well, Europe is going through a heat wave right now, because of the Chinese conspiracy against the USA, which is what US President Donald Trump insists that climate change actually is. That, by the way, was the seasonal high for Lahore. And we have fans.

Fans did not save Oscar and Valeria Ramirez, the father and daughter who drowned while crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into the USA. Their picture raised memories of Alan al-Kurdi, the Syrian refugee boy who was drowned while trying to get into Europe from Syria, and photographed on the Turkish beach he was drowned.

Now, four years down the line, Europe is still wrestling with the problem of Syrian refugees. What price the USA will still be wrestling with Mexican refugee problem four years down the line? The USA is not facing a new flood of refugees from Mexico, but from all over Central America (the Ramirezes were from San Salvador).

It’s interesting that both the drowned children were fleeing violence. In Syria, it’s the civil war. In Central America, it’s the cocaine cartels. In both, one can see the USA as ultimately responsible, because in the Mid-East, if the USA didn’t back Israel, it wouldn’t have to be a player, and the civil war would probably be over. And if there weren’t so many people doing cocaine in the USA, the cartels, all the way from Mexico to Colombia, wouldn’t exist. But I suppose we now back the cartels. Which reminds me. Maybe Sarfraz should take up cocaine too.

The death of the Ramirezes coincided with the revelation that migrant children in Texas border patrol facilities didn’t have toothpaste, toothbrushes or blankets, and were being forced to sleep on floors. The result was probably inevitable: Democratic candidates for President turned up for the photo-op. Look, the election is in winter 2020. It’s summer 2019. Only in America!