On the evening of last Thursday, I sat in an easy chair on the lawn listening to the quiet friction of foliage and the loud chirping of a mother crow, whose heir apparent had fallen out of its nest and landed on the lid of the water tank. It was a good time for reflection, for cogitating on the events of the day as they were reported in the newspapers and on the telly. In some respects, it was not a normal day. The new Pakistan cricket team, that in the recent past had been scraping the bottom of the barrel, appeared to be making a habit of breaking records and beating opponents by an innings and over a hundred runs. They looked as if they were going to repeat their performance. Life for these cricketers will never be the same.
The road tragedy that occurred near Khairpur in which, among others, 14 members of a wedding entourage perished was a truly dreadful affair. It left a huge trail of mourners for whom life will never be the same. There were also two death notices, erroneously referred to as obituaries. I didn’t know either of the deceased. But I nevertheless, bowed my head in respect. For the mourners, life will never be the same. And then there was the horrendous case of the beating and burning of the Christian couple on charges of committing blasphemy. The news made me sick. There were the usual polite editorials in the papers condemning the event and the odd article. The fact that the perpetrators of this heinous crime had been arrested is not going to bring back the husband and his wife. This is not the Soviet Union where the villagers would undoubtedly have been hanged. This is a country with a strong genetic disorder and three months down the line, the event will be forgotten except for the immediate family of the deceased for whom life will never be the same.
I reflected on the fact that an anti-terrorist court had issued a warrant for the arrest of the irrepressible Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri who is marooned in expatriate purgatory. True to form, Imran Khan retorted by giving the government until November 30 to accept his demands or else… The threat was left in parenthesis. He also added that he defied the government to oust him. It is not very clear whether he made the warning before or after his stint as a comedian on the telly. “When I raised the slogan ‘Go Nawaz Go’,” he said tongue-in-cheek, “he misunderstood the edict. He did go but to Britian and Germany and China, instead of back to where he came from.” The rest of the epistle was a flapping farrago of barely credible twists and dead ends, delivered with staccato explanation marks. If he fails in his mission, life will never be the same for the fawning female forces that have clung to his every word.
I also noticed that there were no reports on Thursday of pious citizens upholding the family honour by dispatching their wife, sister, mother, aunt, brother’s wife, brother’s wife’s mother and aunt. Honour killing is practised in almost all Muslim countries and is quite prevalent in Jordan. I didn’t know Parween Rahman, the activist who was apparently slain for knowing too much about land grabbing. When I heard about what had happened to her, I mourned her death along with her relatives and admirers for whom life will never be the same. One can only hope that sanity will one day come to this beleaguered nation.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2014.
Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.