Well, either black lives do not matter, or it does not matter so long as other blacks do the killing. Look at what happened in Lagos, where 10 people were killed when security forces fired on a crowd of protesters. The protesters were opposing the killing of people taken into custody by the police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad. And while the squad has been dissolved, no policeman has been penalised.
Could it happen here? Could people protest people dying in police custody? Well, maybe it would not if they knew the security forces would react in a similar fashion. I mean, think about it. In addition to all those killed in police custody, another 10 have died. Of course, that all happened in Nigeria, where they are not familiar with people dying in police custody.
Some of the same spirit was at work at the alleged forcing of the Sindh inspector-general of police (IGP) to register a case against Captain (r) Safdar Awan, Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law, who left the Pakistan Army ages ago, and who had to be arrested. The Sindh IGP was said to be kidnapped from his home by members of a sister law enforcing agency.
Kidnapping an IGP is serious. It can only be compared with the assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer in 2011, or that of the Viceroy of India, Lord Mayo, in 1872. Kidnap the IGP? No scriptwriter dared show that in the worst Punjabi movie – so unearthly and ridiculous is the idea. I imagine that the IGP was paralysed, not by fear but by surprise. However, I expect the message has got across: anything can happen to anybody if some people decide.
What we have is not the rule of law, but of the will. The next step is rats up shalwar-legs, then chillies (red?) up the private parts. Of course, to preserve our cultural and moral values, there will be lady police doing the needful. Breaking into Maryam Nawaz’s hotel room in search of Captain (r) Safdar was probably a sort of celebration of the return of TikTok after its management agreed to monitor its videos for violations of cultural values.
The Sindh Police is facing hard times. The IGP is registering First Information Reports (FIRs) for free, which is against all that the police stands for. This comes not very long after the decision to go after Rao Anwar, the SSP of Karachi East, merely for killing Naquibullah Mehsud. What is the point of being in the police if you need a reason to kill anyone? And the idea of free FIRs should not be encouraged. The Sindh police officers going on leave should not be seen as rebellious, but as them taking a principled stand against the removal of one of the pillars of policing. Just as much as there is no free lunch, there is no free FIR.
While the debate over who was responsible went on, Purdue, the pharmaceutical giant, finalised a multibillion-dollar deal in which it accepted responsibility for bribing doctors to prescribe oxycontin; these actions were behind the opioid epidemic which caused 47,000 deaths last year from overdoses. The opioid epidemic had not reached Pakistan, though it should have, being cheaper than cocaine. Imran Khan was split in two. Obviously, he had contempt for those he felt were guilty of so heinous a thing as corruption. But at the same time, he had a sneaking sympathy for opioid addicts. Of course, he knew they were not cocaine addicts. It is interesting that cocaine and opioids had the same origin, as legitimate painkillers, prescribed by the medical profession. Heroin started off the same way. Indeed, even now, charas (weed) is prescribed in small quantities as part of certain hakeemi medicines. Imran might have used painkillers when he had his stress fracture, but he did not develop any addiction, did he now?
Speaking of Imran and cricket, could it have escaped one’s notice that the Zimbabwe cricket team arrived, but without their coach, Lalchand Singh Rajput. He got a visa to Pakistan, but he was advised by the Indian high commissioner not to come to the country. Like the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput (apparently no relation), he has Gujarat origins and thus is a sort of compatriot, or rather graeen, of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Though a true Rajput should not follow a teli’s lead, coach Rajput probably wanted to go back to India someday.
Lalchand Rajput was junior to Imran, and so was Kapil Dev, but he was closer to being contemporary. Well, he had a heart attack and had to have an angioplasty. Imran should thus be very careful during this second wave.