The T20 cricket smashathon blasts off in West Indies today. Willows will slash like blades and leather balls will be hurled like grenades as gentlemen-gladiators slug it out in front of frenzied mobs. Two weeks of sporting mayhem will enthral billions across the globe. Blades, grenades, gladiators, mobs and mayhem. Sounds like a regular day in Pakistan.
We’ve been T20ing through life for a while now. If it’s not the military juggernaut steamrolling over the Taliban in Swat and South Waziristan, it’s the Supreme Court – yes you guessed it – steamrolling over the government in Islamabad.
If it’s not the Hazarawals burning tyres and braving bullets in the streets, it’s the electricity-starved people – yep you got it again – burning tyres and braving bullets in other streets. I guess that’s how one feels when sitting on a giant Ferris wheel — your view changes but essentially you’re going round and round seeing the same scenery. The difference is you ‘choose’ to sit on that ride.
So buckle up because here’s what’s in store for us in the coming days: A larger bench of the Supreme Court – and possibly the full bench – will start hearing the case against the 18th amendment this coming month of May. The case will be an edge-of-the-seat nail biter.
If the Lordships shear away some articles from the amendment, you may want to cancel your trip to the cinema to see Clash of the Titans. Why opt for technicolour when you can watch it in living colour? If this isn’t enough pyrotechnics, another epic battle is shaping up over the promotions and demotions of senior bureaucrats.
The prime minister elevated 54 favourite Grade 21ers to heights of 22dom last September amid howls of protests from the other two hundred or so. On Wednesday, the court struck down the promotions and sent the beneficiaries tumbling down. The prime minister is in Bhutan and is not a happy camper. What’s the use of being the chief executive if you can’t promote your favourites?
Muhammad Asif may be hurling yorkers in West Indies but the prime minister too has a few googlies up his sleeve. Expect for him to repromote the 54 officers citing some rules in fine print. Meanwhile, another bare-knuckled bout has broken out in Fight Club.
The UN report on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto has stepped on some seriously big toes. A serving general has been hauled up for enquiry because he allegedly ordered the police to hose down the crime scene.
Now he’s been hosed down by the UN report and possibly by his own institution. But more is to come. The fact-finding enquiry committee constituted by the prime minister has a very limited mandate: find out who ordered the hosing and why. There’s plenty more in the report which begs answers. Keep a lookout for demands for a judicial commission which can initiate a comprehensive probe using the UN report as a base.
Brass knuckledusters may yet crack some calcified ribs. Lest the Opposition thinks it is sitting pretty in the corner enjoying the bloodsport, it’s citadel in Punjab is under attack from outside and inside. The MQM has scaled the walls and is in the province now though it’s premature to classify it as a serious threat for the Brothers Sharif.
What could, however, be a threat is the growing momentum for a South Punjab province. The Q-League has formally supported the idea and the next few days will see organised efforts by elected notables from the south for carving up the province.
The Sharifs will lose the most if this eventuality does materialise at some point. Yep, T20ing we sure are, every hour of every day. And our captains, unlike the cricket one, are chewing on more than just a leather ball.
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