The Chief Minister (CM) of Punjab, in a speech in Lyallpur, recently recited a verse, which translated into English said, “You put the lights out — I put the lights back on.” Well, perhaps, the CM might have flipped a switch on but it is definitely on delay and the lights will most likely come on just a few months before the next election cycle. The speech was delivered yesterday and today, as I sit here in Lahore, during the hottest time of the day, over the last five hours the lights have only been on for one hour. Bravo.
Long gone are the days when the CM used to recite a poem by Habib Jalib, the great revolutionary poet of Pakistan. That poem had a particular refrain in which Jalib denies the legitimacy of the then government of Ayub Khan — most suited for the CM when a PPP government ruled at the Centre. However, now that his brother sits on the throne in Isloo town, the CM has quite forgotten that poem. Especially since his family’s palaces in Raiwind have been exempted from load shedding, the CM even at his poetic best cannot recite from a poem where the opening line talks of ‘lights only in the palaces of the rulers’. And where is his time spent in Minto Park without lights?
The only person who insists on speaking the truth about load shedding is our minister of perpetual sadness, also known as the minister for load shedding. He now says that load shedding might never go away. Before the previous elections he insisted that this was really just a problem of ‘nee-at’ (righteous determination) and once his party came to power, he could make load shedding disappear with the snap of his righteous fingers. Sadly, it seems he has now seen the proverbial light and that is probably why he is perpetually so very sad.
He has been essentially replaced by a minister of state who initially went off on a rampage about electricity theft and unpaid bills. Then the poor chap suddenly stopped after he realised that most of the theft and unpaid bills were incurred by the government and the government that ruled most of the country was his own. Did he replace our minister of perpetual sadness because he himself has a head that seems too full of rather sparse, transplanted hair making him more ‘sympatico’ with his party leaders? Whatever. But all his rants have not made an iota of difference as far as load shedding is concerned.
And now to the other important issue: the ‘killings’ going on in Punjab, the ‘peaceful province’. In my opinion, it is time to call them executions. First was a human rights lawyer killed for representing a ‘blasphemy’ accused. Even though he was threatened during ‘court proceedings’, no higher court has taken any suo motu notice of his execution. No head of government has asked for a court of judicial inquiry and even if they do, no judge will probably agree to be a part of such a court; if that did happen, nobody in their right minds will come forward to bear witness.
The second execution was of an Ahmedi doctor, a US citizen who came to the city once known as Rabwah to take care of poor patients. He was executed for being an Ahmedi. The third execution was of a young woman stoned to death in front of the Lahore High Court (LHC) for marrying the man of her choice, a clear case of adultery and as such punishable by death through stoning. Obviously her mother will forgive the father and the brothers for this crime and that will be that.
Why do I call these killings executions? Because that is exactly what our ‘upset brothers’ would call them. And these ‘brothers’ are the ones our Prime Minister (PM) and his minister of the perpetual hair as well as the Great Khan love, respect and want to negotiate with. So, as long as our PM and his party rule Punjab, such executions will be accepted since they are entirely approved by the brand of religion that they all support. They might deny it but actions, as the old saying goes, speak louder than words.
Here I have a few suggestions for the minister of perpetual hair and his counterpart in Punjab, the only Punjab minister with hair as dark as his. First, enough declaring your ‘upset brothers’ as outlaws. You talk to them; perhaps in your hearts you actually admire them so let us stop calling their organisation forbidden or outlawed. Second, sit down and develop a master plan with them. Agree with them about the number and the sorts of people that need to be executed every month. For instance, how many Ahmedis, how many Shias, how many Barelvis, how many Christians and Hindus (are there any Hindus left in Punjab?), how many doctors or media personalities and how many ‘adulteresses’ need to be executed. The last might be a problem since these could appear anytime. Discuss names and then create a list.
If there are any people on the list that the government does not really want executed, such persons can always be warned in advance (secretly of course) and they can take a vacation abroad during the month they are on the list. However, if a person on the list survives an attack or survives the month being on the list then that person should no longer be subject to a repeat attempt at execution — an entirely sensible idea in my opinion.
As far as our PM is concerned, his statements remind me of those by Miss USA contestants. All he wants is happiness, universal peace and joy. Of course, happiness and joy for him is his and his family’s perpetual government where he and his talented brother can keep on building roads to nowhere.
The writer has practiced and taught
medicine in the US. He can be reached