Considering how very incensed the Deep State gets the more you hold a mirror to it; and being conscious of the sudden torrent of vile abuse and, worse, dastardly and outlandish allegations presently being heaped upon yours truly, I wanted to write about dog shows and fat Labradors this week. However, this is the Land of the Pure, where ever newer horrors are visited upon us every single minute of every single day, some couched in words. All of them, you can be sure, spoken from on high: as if the sermonisers were standing on some particularly elevated moral ground, with us mortals crawling somewhere down there.
To come straight to the point, the following words in Lt.-Gen. Asad Durrani’s article “The second oldest profession” in this newspaper of May 29 sent a very, very cold chill down my spine. Said the general: “I do not know if Afridi should have been tried by a jirga or in a court of law, under tribal decree or under the country’s penal code, but I do know that for him, it is not yet all over.” And as if that was not disturbing enough: “I think Dr Afridi will get another chance to administer a polio vaccine; the next time in the Promised Land.” I ask you.
Who does not know that Dr Shakil Afridi, the man who helped our ally in the War on Terror find Osama bin Laden a few hundred metres from the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, Abbottabad Cantonment, is a ‘Dead Man Walking’? He is in Peshawar Jail, which is as vulnerable to attack by the mighty Taliban as Bannu Jail where they first bribed their way in; then garlanded and honoured General Musharraf’s convicted attacker, Adnan Rasheed (who was sentenced to death) with a dastarbandi (adorning him with a turban), and then made video recordings of their great feat, rehearsed firing and all. We have to note that not a single person was even injured in that Great Escape in which nearly 400 prisoners, some of them dangerous terrorists, escaped. So, where’s the problem in ‘rubbing out’ Shakil Afridi in Peshawar Jail?
However, for a former head of the ISI to say almost gleefully what he said, Durrani certainly deserves mention. Specially, and I say this as someone who lauded his stand on the Mehrangate scandal: admitting that as a Pakistan army general he should not have done what he did, being such a senior person. Indeed, what he said about Afridi is way out of court.
And now to the jailbreak. There is not a squeak out of the leaders and the spokesmen of the Ghairat Brigades about that catastrophe. Remember that we know that Adnan Rasheed worked for Amjad Farooqi, who in turn worked for Abu Faraj al Libi and is also known to have been a member of these extremist organisations at various times: Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan; Harkatul Ansar; Harkatul Mujahideen; Harkatul Jihad-al-Islami in which he is said to have been this group’s pointman with al Qaeda’s International Islamic Front. Quite a beauty, what? Yet, not a word about the jailbreak and its links with al Qaeda, especially when one of the prisoners who escaped was accused of plotting to kill the then chief of army staff himself!
The only emphasis is on Afridi, and please note this, who has not been charged with treason, but who has been convicted on vague charges of colluding with Mangal Bagh’s Lashkar-i-Islam, becoming the very first person to be jailed for such crimes. And that too for 33 years! He was not found ‘involved in clandestine work on behalf of a foreign power’, as stated by Durrani.
A short aside: a reader sent me the following email (words mine): “Why were 33 years handed down to Shakil Afridi for exposing a terrorist, and 20 kanals of choicest land with a custom-built madrasa at H-11 handed over to another terrorist? Whither the blood of 12 SSG commandos/Rangers killed in the Lal Masjid operation?” I could add, whither the blood of the three policemen and two Rangers killed earlier while the Lal Masjid/Jamia Hafsa Mafia were openly flouting the law; occupying government property; calling for the overthrow of the state; kidnapping and beating up lay people; setting video shops on fire as far away as Bhara Kahu; and generally holding the people of Islamabad and environs to ransom? Yet, not a sound out of the sermonisers on this either. It is as if Shakil Afridi is the only horror around, and his ‘conviction’ is the be-all and end-all for Pakistan and its ‘sovereignty’.
And now for dog shows and fat Labradors. The ‘show’ standard for Labs, is, literally, ‘fat’ and heavy dogs. My handsome Henry, and his mother, the quite beautiful Bella aka ‘Kishmish of Wah’, wrestle with each other and run up and down the field at my home for hours on end. They swim and try to catch the fish (idiots!) in my spring-fed pool at least ten times a day in this heat. The result is extremely muscular, active, happy dogs; not fat! So, for these two no more ‘showing’.
I might add that this is not to take away from some fine kennels with great Lab breeds in Pakistan. Some names that immediately spring to mind of excellent breeders are those of that great gentleman, Colonel Kenneth M Roy, the president of the Kennel Club of Pakistan; Babar and Muhammad Nasrullah Khan of Daska, and Syed Tasveer Shah of Lahore. Well done all. But I and mine are out of it! Don’t want my dogs to die painful deaths when their time comes, as a direct result of hauling so much weight about!
Have to end on Shakil Afridi: This country must brace itself for a horrific fallout if the man is harmed whilst in jail. But mayhap the time has come to end this whole charade: let’s just tell the world to go to hell, and be done with it. We have many, many ‘bums’ after all.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2012.