Lots of things, mostly politicians, would be funny — in a gallows humour sort of way — were they not so goddamned dangerous and disruptive.
Take Karachi and this week alone (as of the time of writing). Yaum-e-Ali shut down half the city and its businesses on August 22 and then there came the MQM call for a ‘day of mourning’ on August 23, which effectively shut down everything because when the MQM utters, fear descends. Mourning for what? For the part the party has played, orchestrated from a north London suburb by a British citizen?
Or mourning for all the bagged bodies that litter the more insalubrious areas of Karachi controlled by the various mafias? When Asma Jehangir on August 22, talking to the city’s lawyers, remarked that “the political parties would soon become mafias...” she was way off the mark. The three main parties which operate the havoc in Karachi are already established mafias, bloodily fighting over land, money, drugs, power and possessions.
Zulfiqar Mirza, senior minister of Sindh, close companion in whatever of his party co-chairman, who doubles as the country’s head of state, would surely be humorous in a goon-like way were his remarks — such as his opinion of the origins of the MQM — not a spur to murder. When on August 22, he laid into Rehman Malik of interior fame; a lot of people cheered him on. There was glee on their faces as they narrated his tirade — indicative of the awam’s unhidden contempt for politicians in general.
Mirza was on the ball when he suggested that Malik should give Karachi a break. Whenever a body is located in or out of a bag, it is obviously a victim of that, by now well-known activity of, ‘target killing’, one Rehman Malik pops up out of his Islamabad box and lands in Karachi to contribute zilch, other than a string of vows and intentions.
As if this country is not sufficiently holidayed, in particular Karachi, which suffers from strikes and shut-downs on an average of at least once a week (and how many billions are lost per day?), the stand-up comic that is the prime minister, so tediously dummy-like in his utterances on any and all subjects and in his predilection for snazzy suits and colourful ties (his version of the Birkin bag) has announced that this year’s Eid warrants a four-day holiday. Where, oh where, does he think he is living, in what remote peaceful and rich country? Is the man not aware of the economic straits in which the republic finds itself, of the utter instability that reigns from the killing grounds of the northern border areas and much of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa down to the polluted, in more ways than one, grimy, deadly, seashore city of Karachi?
Starting a holiday spree on a Wednesday? What does he really think will happen to productivity on the Monday and Tuesday of the holy week? Does he foresee activity that will earn some money for his cash-strapped country?
At last the Supreme Court has forgotten Atiqa Odho and suddenly, this past week, realised that there is a problem as far as Karachi is concerned. It acted and ‘summoned details’ of the target killings which had just been brought to its notice. And a number of luminaries, the man from London included, living in a dreamworld have suggested that a solution could be that our prime minister humbly submit his resignation to his party capo. He cannot do so, capo would be put in a bind.
The only way he can realistically go is if the Supreme Court awakens to his multiple snubs directed at it (under the capo’s orders) and actually takes the bit in its mouth and hauls him up for contempt (should have happened long ago) and forgot about ‘saving the system.’ The ‘system’ as it stands, is not worth a rescue operation.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2011.