I know a secret: World Cup junket and police sleaze

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman has gone with his family on another junket to see his team play the World Cup.

Khadim Hussain February 01, 2011

The Pakistan Cricket Board chairman has gone with his family on another junket to see his team play the World Cup. Pakistan may have won the first match against Kenya, but things do not seem very promising. Had the obese chairman of the lean PCB handled his job with some dignity and enforced discipline, Pakistan’s national cricket team would have been far better placed to win the cup. One hopes that the PCB chairman’s sense of honour finally wakes from it shameful slumber and he bids farewell to the game.


Residents of Lahore’s Defence Housing Authority experience frequent traffic jams because the road infrastructure was designed for three phases. But the success of the residential society and property price hike promised irresistible riches, and so the authority and its beneficiaries have expanded the society to more than nine phases with plans for more. The scheme now extends to the periphery of the second line of defence during the 1965 war with India. Every year for the last several years, the drainage system on both sides of the main road that leads to the main entrance to Phase 1 is dug up and rebuilt, only to end up being choked again. One wonders why the drainage system is so defective, especially when the roads themselves, built by the Frontier Works Organisation during Shahbaz Sharif’s previous tenure as chief minister more than 10 years ago, are still in good working condition.

The side lanes have been dug up for more than two months now and this has contributed to more traffic jams. Residents of DHA are wondering whether the drainage system will work this time or collapse once again during the monsoon rains.


The whole country is seeing a mushrooming of guest houses or cheap hotels where people go to seek pleasures of the kind Bangkok was once famous for. These places also serve as hubs for bookies and some are notorious as places for betting on sports including cricket. Lahore has its share of such guest houses. They function under the patronage and protection of local station house officers (SHOs), who receive protection money from them to the tune of hundreds of thousands of rupees per day, depending upon their turnover. Garden Town, Johar Town, Firdaus Market, Gulberg and Bedian Road are notorious for such pleasure houses. Since these houses are never raided by the local police, who have been adequately compensated by their managements, they are now also the favourite hideouts for terrorists and their handlers, which explains why they remain undetected after they have carried out an attack. Over 20 such guest houses have been shut down in Lahore recently, in a major crackdown ordered by the provincial government. So why has action not been taken against the police staff?


The Pakistan International Airlines employees who shut down the national carrier for four days were convinced that the former managing director was selling lucrative routes in an underhand deal. They also believed he planned to sell all the Boeing 777s and then buy new aircraft. This is what united them. The workers were even offered raises of 10 per cent to 20 per cent if they did not join the strike, but they refused. Karachi Airport’s Jinnah Terminal was nicknamed Tahrir Square, where some of the peaceful protesters were roughed up and beaten by thugs and policeman.

Published in The  Express Tribune.

Khadim Hussain A Lahore based columnist for The Express Tribune who contributes to Five Rivers Running.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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