Saturday, June 20, 2009

Qaim and Punishment

What is the first word that comes to mind when Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah is mentioned? Soft-spoken? Mild-mannered? Ineffectual? Weak? All of the above? Well, think again. How about unduly harsh? Or a bit extreme? Or Sindh's Man of Steel? Surely not!
Well, read Dawn's front page coverage of the Sindh budget and you will see a side to the man that no one thought existed. (Then again, maybe it doesn't, as Dawn refers to the gentleman presenting the budget as 'Qasim' Ali Shah in the very first para. So perhaps someone else read out the budget speech and no one noticed).

Tucked away right at the end after all the dreary figures and statistics is a line that literally leaps off the page. It states:

"He also proposed death penalty for driving a vehicle without registration, prevent default and reduce the misuse of unregistered vehicles in crimes."

Let's not quibble with the grammar or construction here but do notice the harshness of the penalty. Death for not getting your car registered?!!! The Taliban would be proud of meek old Qaim, don't you think? No wonder Altaf bhai is freaking out at the Taliban at our gates.
Will we now be flogged publicly by the bank clerk if we pay our gas bill after the due date? Or beheaded for jumping the queue at Agha's?

Come to think of it, my secret inner Taliban does sometimes want horrible things to happen to certain types of people - especially those with four-wheel drives with tinted windows, party flags and no number plates that park wherever they please. Of course, I wouldn't hurt a fly in real life but what's the harm in fantasising a bit?

So who would you secretly (and purely in theory, of course) like to instantly get their comeuppance? Motorcyclists who believe traffic signals are just quaint bits of street furniture? Or the jerk of a bank clerk who prefers to chat to his colleagues even as the queue in front of his till is on the verge of rioting? Or the idiot trying to text a love letter while driving in front of you and blocking all the lanes?

1 comment:

Serial Kicker said...

I certainly have problems with motorcycles. They would just wade through any piece of land they find.
Glad to see that I am not the only taliban when it comes to 4 wheel drives with tinted windows. Somehow I have been noticing a lot of them lately. But isn't this part of "democracy"?