Somebody wake me from this horrible nightmare. I mean we all knew what a dysfunctional, corrupt to the core, violent, angry country ours is, but THIS? And just as we began to sorta kinda coast along (very, very bumpily of course), with some institutions recognising their proper place in the world and the Constitution; just as the once completely out-of-control Deep State and its scary agencies were beginning to understand that they were not completely free to do their evil mainly because of the unprecedented glare of judicial oversight courtesy My Lord Iftikhar Chaudhry; just as the media, too, was being shown that it could not ride roughshod over everyone: witness Minister Kaira’s interview with Talat Husain (in which Husain called Kaira a liar!), and with Kamran Khan, come several bolts from the blue.
The first bolt was delivered by that well-known wheeler-dealer real estate chappie who boasts friendships with all of this country’s elite, both civilian and military, flying them hither and yon in his specially fitted-out luxury private airliner; a man who has the closest business partnerships with the jewel in the Army’s business crown, the DHA; a man who is used to getting his way immediately if not sooner; and a man who oils his progress through employing many generals, admirals and air marshals, and according to himself, fixing wheels on those government files that carry his wishes, nay demands.
I shall not dwell on this for long because of the deep respect I have for My Lord Iftikhar Chaudhry, a judge I have so often seen cut through the chaff and go to the very heart of the matter in short time; a man who can quote chapter and verse from case law and from the Constitution and the Pakistan Penal Code. I do hasten to add that whilst the hurry with which certain ‘political’ cases have been handled by the Supreme Court while other long-standing serious cases affecting ordinary people languish in the ‘Pending’ trays of the Court has attracted some humble criticism from me, taken as a whole, My Lord comes out far better than the majority of his predecessors. I will say this, though: if my son who today drives a six-year old Civic suddenly one day drove into my house in a fancy limousine wearing a Canali suit, I would certainly ask him where they came from. This was an unwelcome, horrid bolt.
The second was wholly welcome, in which we saw two holier-than-thou anchors (most of them are, actually, but about that another time) of Dunya News brutally unmasked on the medium itself! For the last three days we have been regaled by video footage of the two merrily carrying on a conversation during the commercial breaks with that same property developer whose ‘exclusive interview’ they were supposed to be carrying out, asking for prompts from him; listening to their bosses on their mobile devices telling them to go easy on their subject; at one time even quarrelling among themselves as to the amount of time each should have on air during that so-called interview, which was certainly a set-up and a stitch-up. Indeed, a needlessly stupid phone call from the PM’s son during the interview gave more grist to the mills of those who are seeing the government’s hand in this whole tamasha.
But back to the anchors: Apart from the fact that there are serious charges against both of them — let us not be afraid to name them: Mubashar Lucman who thought nothing of rudely questioning his guests; of shouting down people; indeed at the time that the CJ visited Karachi and was forcibly prevented from leaving the airport, even counting the amount of McDonald’s burgers the CJ allegedly ate at the airport — four and a half, he (Lucman) went on shouting over and over!
As for Meher Bokhari, she is the one who actually asked leading questions of Salmaan Taseer, forcing answers out of him that rankled terribly with those holding obscurant and extremist religious views, and which ultimately led to his horrible and untimely assassination a few days later, by a religious bigot.
While both of these bolts as I refer to these earth-shaking events, will be looked on by a world — that is getting more and evermore sceptical and cynical about this country’s progress — as more proof that only a miracle can save us from utter doom, I do think there will be some few positive effects of these bolts.
And the most important is that those who thought theirs was a charmed existence just because they wielded enormous, what they thought was untrammelled power: journalistic; military; parliamentarian; governmental; judicial, and in the real estate chappie’s case the power that comes from immense wealth, will now think twice before they shoot off at the mouth or do something stupid. I mean if the country’s well-respected CJ, may his tribe increase, can be talked about the way we have heard and seen over the past week, no one is, finally, above reproach and criticism.
Just an aside: Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, him of the House of Zahoor, another clan rolling in the stuff, said as quoted on TV, words to the effect:”This whole (real estate chappie-REL) matter should be brought to a close because REL has the dirt on a lot of ‘sufaid-posh’. Er, Ch Saab, if this man has the dirt on them, how in heaven’s name can they be termed ‘sufaid-posh’? Let it roll, let it roll, and let us see the real faces of those that walk with their heads in the clouds.
P.S. Texas tycoon R Allen Stanford who once rode horses with President George Bush has been sentenced to 110 years in prison for bilking investors out of more than seven billion dollars in a Ponzi scheme. Isn’t Bahria Town also structured on the Ponzi system? Economists? Bankers? Speak up please.
P.P.S. The ‘Mamo’-gate report saddens me: Haqqani certainly not given same rights as his ludicrous accuser. More soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2012.
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