Friday, June 01, 2007

This Week in Pakistan

With the inevitable lull in Pakistani cricket following the unfortunate death of Bob Woolmer, I find myself turning to other quarters for my weekly dose of tomfoolery. Luckily, in this case, I don't have to look very far. For the Pakistani government is proving that it is more than capable of filling the void left by Inzi and his boys (or Shoaib and his boys, as it is now).

Sample this. A court sentences a same-sex couple to prison for marrying against the tenets of Islam. This in spite of the fact that one of them had had a sex change operation. Now I can understand the law not recognizing same sex marriage. I can also understand, with a stretch of credulity, the law not recognizing new-fangled surgical operations. But putting someone behind bars for an 'offence' such as this seems more than a bit extreme. Surely, the Supreme court will intervene and overturn the ruling, one imagines. Well, imagine again. For the Supreme Court is too busy issuing summons to Ibrar-ul-Haq (no relation to the great man), for penning a song about the salinity levels of a certain Parveen. It seems Dinesh Gupta has competition from across the border after all.

But while the Supreme Court takes the cake, the icing has to go to the fearless leader of the state, General President Musharraf himself. Musharraf last week called off an armed operation at the Lal Masjid, but made sure that the eye-for-an-eye philosophy was not lost upon the rebellious clerics.
An angry President Musharraf reacted to the mosque's threats on Monday, challenging the mosque's calls for a jihad against the government, by saying only the government can call for a jihad.
Really! Governments can call for jihads. I always thought that was the prerogative of loony religious fundamentalists. Not educated, suave politicians like the good general. I wonder if this calling for jihad rule applies to all governments or just to Mr. Musharraf and his good friends.


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