CITY NOTES: A bird hit and a ban


Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has been through some tough times recently, most notably
when he was coming home the other day from Hafizabad, when a bird hit his helicopter, causing a massive dent, and an awful kerfuffle. His visit had been a routine one and had nothing to do with the recovery of a woman from the room where her brothers had imprisoned her for many years, so as to deprive her of her share in the family property.

Buzdar was dealt a further blow by his spokesman, Shehbaz Gill, who resigned. Gill was accused to having projected himself at the expense of his boss. Appearing more intelligent than him wasn’t exactly hard, and what did he do to compete with Buzdar’s speciality, the noble art of writing with his feet? I mean, did Gill pull a tractor with his nose hairs? Or pull one uphill with his teeth?

Gill is not the only recent person to resign? John Bolton, the US National Security Adviser, also resigned over the Afghan talks fiasco. Buzdar might like the comparison. After all, he did not object to Imran Khan calling him Waseem Akram, though no one asked how Waseem felt about the comparison. Waseem was certainly the great all-rounder, though neither would readily see either as the brightest card in the deck. Though it should be noted that whereas no one thought Waseem was dumber than Imran, there is a school which holds that Buzdar’s main attraction for Imran is that he makes him seem an intellectual giant.

After all, it takes an intellectual giant to first set Germany and Japan at war, and then to have them, neighbours. Well, the German president did tender an apology to Poland for invading it in 1939. No Pole is known to have apologised for answering that invasion with a cavalry charge, which was actually the last cavalry charge in the history of warfare.

Zimbabwe buried Robert Mugabe, the ousted founding President who died at 93. Imran wasn’t paying attention, because Mugabe was corrupt, and because he was too busy mourning Abid Ali, the actor, who also passed away.

By the way, Buzdar has been called Waseem Akram, but wouldn’t it be better to compare him to Waqar Younis, whose affection for a PCB job has included becoming bowling coach under Misbahul Haq, even though he had once been a head coach? Waqar seems to have understood the basic lesson of politics, the bureaucracy and the armed forces: never give up an official residence or an official vehicle.

It’s not just our bureaucracy, but any. I mean, catch the head of India’s space programme giving up his official residence just because the Indian moon landing failed. I wonder why there was so much jubilation over here. Surely there’s some difference between a moon landing and an ODI.

I suppose it means that the power of prayers in Kashmir must be very powerful. I don’t think Kashmiris under curfew had many prayers to spare for the moon landing. Of course, now that Imran has held a rally in Muzaffarabad, Kashmir will definitely be freed. It’s interesting how Imran is inching closer to the LoC, much like a swimmer putting first his toe in a cold pool. Next week should see Imran at the LoC, the Friday after next should see him across it, and he should hold a rally in Srinagar the week after that. Perhaps that’s why Modi is taking a hard line. He doesn’t want Imran in India, holding a dharna against his corruption, now, does he?

I watched the zakireen on TV carefully this Ashura, much as I did back last century. And yes, there were references to Kashmir and the modern-day Karbala there, just as there were back then. The Imam’s sacrifice is not inspiration enough, and we are still like the men of Kufa, concerned about making two ends meet, and unwilling to take on a powerful enemy. Like now. Better we remain at home rather than risk nuclear war and all its attendant evils. Better that babies yell for milk in the curfew than that we should be made uncomfortable. Not that anything could be done by us. That didn’t bother the Imam, but that’s beside the point. Which is to know on which side our bread is buttered.

On top of Ashura was Defence Day. Back in 1965, the War was about Kashmir, so apart from Kashmir Solidarity Day, we actually have a second day for Kashmir. It’s funny how we couldn’t get away from Kashmir, for on 9/11, while the rest of the world commemorated the anniversary of the World Trade Center bombing, we marked the death anniversary of the man who said that Kashmir was our jugular.

And do not forget, the Quaid-e-Azam spent his last summer in united India in a houseboat overlooking Dal Lake… Like so many others, he had a special place in his heart for that land.

And how has the Punjab police contributed to the Kashmir cause? By banning mobiles in police stations. The police seems to have worked out that people didn’t so much object to Salahuddin Ayubi being killed, as to the torture of that poor mentally challenged individual before his killing.

And what horrified people about the Gujjarpura torture cell is that cops had to take people out of police station to break their backs, something best done in the station itself.