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Making absolute fools of ourselves

By Kamran Shafi

All of the time, in more ways than one. So, first to our blow-hot, blow-cold prime minister who has executed another dizzying U-turn. This time on his statement that the Sipah Salaar-e-Azam (an honorific bestowed upon the Sipah Salaar by Akram Shiekh, who is also Mansoor Ijaz-of-the-Murky-Memo’s counsel) and the DG ISI had acted improperly in submitting a reply to the SC without the government’s approval.

We are now told that he had said what he said under “a unique situation when there was no clarity”, but that now, “since there is clarity and now we have all met … that (remark) does not pertain to these two gentlemen”. I don’t know if your head is spinning reader, mine surely is. It’s so bad actually that I am now going for a walk with my beloved Labrador, Mister, to try and clear my head. I only hope I can get this piece done by my deadline.

Now, that was good! A crisp sun shines down on a Lahore that was freezing till yesterday — no gas, thank you very much. While the walk was bracing, my head is still buzzing at the extent of Makhdoom Sahib’s naiveté. However, here goes another effort at writing.

So then, the three protagonists met and clarity came, eh? Was it in the form of a demand that the PM withdraw his remarks and mayhap the army would let the government off the hook? Or were there any other quid pro quos to off-set the PM’s humiliation? And if there weren’t any, why? Should one of them, indeed, not have been ISPR’s withdrawing its harsh and insolent statement against the PM? Once bitten twice shy they say, but he simply will not learn: I’ll bet the PM will be bitten again.

And now to Mamogate or Meemogate, depending on which TV channel you prefer. I attended the first hearing of the Commission and, even before proceedings started, told my nephew who was with me that this was going to descend into a complete farce. And what do you think made me say that? Only the fact that whilst a twice-elected former prime minister accompanied by seven senior leaders of his party, all former chief ministers and federal ministers (two of them flying in from Karachi for the hearing) attended; whilst senior Grade-22 ‘bloody civilian’ bureaucrats attended, two army officers, one Grade-21 and one Grade-22 did not deign to attend. All had been issued like summons. The portends were clear from the start.

Look at where we are today; just look at what the world is saying about us Pakistanis, our politicians, our army, our intelligence services, even our superior judiciary. Just read reports in the international press from the Christian Science Monitor to the Washington Post to the Wall Street Journal. Indeed, see what the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has said. In short, that we are an irresponsible, unfair, inequitable, capricious, bitter people.

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