CITY NOTES: Proving someone is dead


Nawaz Sharif was struck with a strange ailment that was finally diagnosed as Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), but which was at one point suspected to be dengue, for which he was at one point tested. His platelets count kept on falling, despite transfusions of more than one mega-unit, which is not a good sign.

We had the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) full of deniers, like the people who denied that he had a quadruple bypass while he was the prime minister. Then we had people denying that his wife, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, had a fatal disease. She silenced them only by dying. There should have been some people claiming she was not dead, that she was actually hiding out in a cave somewhere.

Well, there have been no claims that Benazir Bhutto was alive (the slogan Kal bhi Bhutto zinda tha, aaj bhi Bhutto zinda hai/Zinda hai Bhutto zinda hai applies only to the father, not the daughter), even though that would be a more valid claim. Look, no post mortem was conducted of her corpse. So where is the piece of paper (signed by a gazetted officer of BPS 17 or above, with official stamp) saying she was dead?

One aspect of Nawaz’s illness was how his daughter Maryam had to be admitted to hospital after she saw him. Much can be said about this, but at this juncture, all that can be said is that everyone knows someone like that, who thinks that everything is about them.

Well, the piece of paper existed in the case of the four people killed in Sahiwal, in an encounter with the local Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) cops. But as the trial court said in its judgement, that only proved that they had died, not that the accused had killed them.

That should have been done by ballistic evidence, which should have quite straightforward: the fatal bullets should have matched certain weapons, which had been issued to the accused, plus they would have been unable to provide some of the bullets they had been issued. Hey presto! The official in-charge of issuing weapons said that all weapons issued were returned in good order, as were all bullets. Naturally, the accused were all acquitted.

There seems to be a conundrum. The police evidence concedes that something happened. The best thing would have been for the defence to have claimed that nothing had happened, and everyone was the subject of a mass hallucination. Unfortunately, now that there has been an acquittal, the case goes back to the police station the First Information Report (FIR) was registered at, as a result of which the trial took place.

The prime minister took time out from his celebrations to order an appeal by the government, presumably based on a re-investigation. Celebrations? Yes, he is celebrating the removal of the corrupt element, Sarfraz Ahmad, from the Pakistan captaincy. Now that was something long awaited. We could not have Pakistan losing, not with Imran as PM. And anyway, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) must have demanded that the illegal money raised by Nawaz be stopped. You cannot begin to imagine how much betting money figured in terror financing. And Nawaz and his cohorts made a pile betting against Pakistan, secure in the knowledge that Sarfraz would throw the match.

Of course, Maulana Fazlur Rehman has not yet agreed to throw the Azadi March, though Pervez Khattak has been working hard at it. Fazl is not impressed by either his medical history or terpsichorean abilities. Just as much as the Canadian electorate does not seem entirely enamoured to Justin Trudeau, that rival of Imran Khan for the youth vote, and returned him to office with a reduced majority. Not good news for Imran, though he can console himself that Trudeau neither won a World Cup nor built a cancer hospital.

And finally, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) had its militant wing banned. True, it had been declared to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), but that should not allow its members to present a salute to Fazl. (Was he practising for March 23 parades? Would part of the price of having him as PM be having contingents of JUI-F at the parade? I wonder if those are the guys I have seen at JUI-F rallies, carrying round wooden models of AK-47s? If so, I do not think the government should feel too threatened.

India has, as usual, got it all on team picked for Australia, and corrupt element removed from captaincy; Trudeau has won, but with a reduced majority; Azadi March; Nawaz’s health, no dengue, platelets count down, went up after transfusions, but dropped again; Maryam had to be admitted too; Immune Thrombocytpenic Purpura; JUI-F militants banned.