Good news at last - Kamran Shafi - October 26, 2010

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IT is one of the best pieces of news this year, yes, even more than the Supreme Court’s (SC) sagaciously and correctly signalling that parliament could legislate amendments to the constitution by not throwing the 18th Amendment or even a part of it out of court.

The news is that SP Ashfaq Anwar who had been deployed to provide security to the late and much lamented Benazir Bhutto has turned approver against other senior policemen suspected of having a hand, if not in her cold-blooded and horrific murder, at least in its criminal cover-up. SP Ashfaq has reportedly denied this impression.

The most damning of all is his allegation that, as we thought, it was none other than a senior police officer who gave the orders to hose down the scene of the crime almost immediately after the assassination, obliterating any and all forensic evidence that might have been collected from there as should have happened, and as does happen when the target(s) are not high-profile political leaders who are on the wrong side of the Deep State.

Cases in point: the suicide hit on the good and well-spoken of surgeon general of the army on The Mall in Rawalpindi when the road was closed off for a whole day, the hit on the bus carrying ISI personnel in Westridge when that road was closed off for several days; even when lawyers were hit by a blast in GPO chowk, Lahore.

The second most shocking revelation in his statement is that a plain SHO stood in the way of an autopsy on poor Benazir.

We are Pakistanis who have lived and grown old in this country — can we ever believe that a lowly inspector of police could on his own prevent the autopsy of as powerful a political leader as Benazir Bhutto? Or that a senior superintendent of police could order the hosing down the scene of the crime all on his own? No sirs, no!

Both the orders had to come from the very top because the people at the top apparently knew well that it was no suicide bomber whose detonation of his charge made Benazir fall down into the jeep and hit her head on the sun-roof lever so hard that her brains oozed out.

They knew that it was the pistol shooter, plainly visible in video-film record of the murder, who shot her in the upper left side of her neck, the bullet exiting from the right side of her head. I am sorry for being so graphic, reader, but what do you do other than kick the Deep State in the teeth when it not only is at least an accessory to a crime of this proportion, but takes us lay citizens for so many fools?

As an aside, how many of us remember Brigadier Cheema (I think his name was), trying to sell the theory of the lever at a press conference after being briefed by none other than a director of the Mother of All Agencies as he himself later admitted?

The man’s mouth was dry; he was groping for words; his hands were shaking, and he generally looked as if he had seen several ghosts a mere minute ago. What a sorry and shameful performance that was, by a hanger-on of a sorry and shameless dictatorship.

Why, you might ask, is it that I say that this is even better news than the SC judgment? Because, friends, far too many of Pakistan’s political leaders have been done to violent death without the perpetrators ever coming to justice. Start from Liaquat Ali Khan, go to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and then to Benazir, and you will see the dark and dirty hands of the Deep State behind every one of those awful assassinations.

One hopes that the deposition of SP Anwar will be acted upon and that the case will reach a conclusion in a court of law, in which everyone even remotely connected with the case, no matter what their station at the time of the killing of that brave woman, will be questioned and if remotely suspect will be proceeded against. This country has seen enough bloody interventions by those that would not let democracy grow and prosper.

More good news: everything one reads about Bangladesh tells one that it is on the right path, forging ahead for the good of its people despite the fact that there is a lot yet to be done to raise the standard of its poor. But at least it has the basics right.

Its population growth rate seems to have stabilised. According to a recent article: “Today the average Bangladeshi woman bears fewer than three children in her lifetime, down from more than six in the 1970s.” Ours on the other hand is as high as it ever was, the mullah the greatest obstacle to birth control.

How well I remember an exchange with a friendly maulvi sahib when I asked why he was against controlling our spiralling population. “Hazur SAW ki fauj barhh rahi hai,” he said. Translation: “the armies of the Prophet (PBUH) are growing.”. Never mind that the armies that were growing were ill-fed and emaciated and shoeless. Armies that had neither food to eat nor potable water to drink. Well there we go.

But back to Bangladesh. The best news is that it is one of the six African and Asian countries to attain progress towards the achievement of its Millennium Development Goals to eradicate extreme poverty and boost health, education, and the status of women by 2015. Pakistan is nowhere near Bangladesh in this respect.

However, the passage in the report that affected me the most was a comparison of where Bangladesh and Pakistan whose part it was once upon a time stand: “In a way their best-known national heroes sum up the two country’s personalities. For Bangladesh, it’s Grameen Bank’s Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, synonymous with small loans to village women. For Pakistan: Abdul Qadeer Khan, the rogue nuclear scientist who peddled contraband technology to Libya, Iran and North Korea”. Before the Ghairat Brigades jump down my throat let me hasten to add that it was none other than the Commando who ‘outed’ A.Q. Khan to the world, not I.

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