The fright of live cameras
For a hardcore reporter, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan revealed nothing new and headlines-worthy while deconstructing the five-hour long reality show that a loony had staged right in the middle of a high-end avenue of Islamabad last Thursday. As an old resident of this city who hates weapons and hiring security guards, however, I felt doubly frightened after listening to at least two crucial points that the interior minister candidly made.
One related to the admission of an overwhelming fact that the police protecting the capital of an atomic power do not have any stun gun to deactivate a suicidal adventurer. Even after acquiring this gun from a “sensitive institution,” they discovered that the gun provided to them could only prove ‘effective’ if fired from the maximum distance of 7 feet from the intended target. Some daring officer could still have taken the risk of going that close to Sikandar the retard, but not one individual from among the 17,000 strong force of Islamabad Police knew how to use the borrowed gun.
Finally, when the police acquired snipers from the Rangers, they also found it difficult to operate “after sunset” and specifically under the close watch of cameras installed by 24/7 channels. “They (the law enforcers) fear live cameras, which makes them extremely vulnerable to (hyper and intrusive) courts.”
To be fair to Chaudhry Nisar, I can’t hold his government exclusively responsible for such spine-chilling flaws when it comes to crime management. After the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, terrorism has turned deadly and almost normal for Pakistan. Until, 2005, the then US President Bush, and our very own Commando kept behaving as ‘tight buddies.’ Washington keeps claiming that it has spent billions of dollars in capacity building of our security outfits. We have no means to find out the aggregate amount of money consumed in this head forget having a serious audit of this spending.
One thing is but obvious, though: people assigned to do shopping in the name of securing Pakistan, preferred having deadly gadgets that you need in case of a war with another country. Hardly a person in the government ever cared to focus on acquiring the latest tactics and gadgets to protect the hapless citizens of this country as well. The self-declared icons of democratic governance that we had elected in 2008 did not care to address this side of security management.
I can but wish that being the real promoters of parliament’s sovereignty, people like Nisar should at least dare to form a parliamentary committee that should try to find out details of the shopping that “sensitive institutions” and law enforcers did throughout the years that followed 9/11.
After stating this, I have to add that Chauhdry Nisar Ali Khan does not seem savoring the near-decisive influence in the third government of Nawaz Sharif that he used to enjoy in two previous governments. Something certainly is wrong somewhere. For many months, for example, he is not on speaking terms with an erstwhile friend, Khawaja Asif. Wagging tongues claim that a famous textile and cement tycoon known for influencing policy planning of the PML-N government is the person responsible for Nisar’s distance from the kitchen cabinet of these days and there are stories I need to double-check before writing.
Even Nawaz Sharif appears as if “not there” these days. He had a meeting with the Army Chief fixed for Monday, but reliable sources claimed that the Prime Minister had yet not reached his office when General Kayani went there at the appointed time. Instead of waiting while staying put in the PM’s office, he preferred to wait at another place.
For another time, when the meeting took place, Shahbaz Sharif was also reported to be present there. The PML-N-friendly sources claim that the younger brother is adamantly determined to keep him present in the meetings that Mian Sahib would have with our praetorians. Problems and frictions that Nawaz Sharif had with the khaki during his previous governments are cited to justify this presence.
Politics is all about optics in this age of cameras’ reach, however. Shahbaz Sharif, after all, is one of the four chief ministers in this country. His constant presences in prime ministerial meetings with the khakis certainly convey a wrong message to our smaller provinces. Far more important is the dent, however, that this presence causes to Mian Sahib’s image of a “leader.” His younger brother’s presence in such important meetings rather promotes Shahbaz Sharif as if behaving like an anchoring monitor of these meetings. Simply put, it clearly suggests that the younger brother can just not trust the patriarchal brother in dealing with the khakis on his own.