Sunday, June 28, 2009

Parliamentary Cretinism - Part I

Two stories, from two provincial assemblies had me in fits. Or they would have, had I known what to make of them.

The first comes from the Sindh Assembly, which in its session to pass the provincial budget, also took time out to observe one minute of solemn silence for... Michael Jackson. Yes, believe it or not. WTF?!? As Dan Qayyum of the blog Pakistan Ka Khuda Hafiz observed in his post 'A Minute's Silence for the Death of Common Sense, Please':

"The point isn’t whether Jacko was a global superstar or that he had reportedly converted to Islam – Michael Jackson had absolutely f*ck-all to do with Pakistan, its history, its culture, its language, its people and its politics. This is the Provincial Assembly of Sindh, Pakistan, not the California State Assembly. Or are we now officially the 51st state?

What next? Will Muttahida’s gun toting ‘activists’ and PPP Jayalas forcefully shut all businesses in Karachi for a shutter-down strike next time Britney shaves her head? Or will we have a national day of mourning when Paris Hilton’s little pooch dies?"
I always knew that MJ had a special place in the hearts of Makranis (understandably) and Sindhis (inexplicably) but irrespective of the Sindh Assembly wanting to Heal the World, surely this is setting a Bad precedent. In the face of the myriad other problems facing the province, this bit of sentimental tomfoolery could even be termed Dangerous. Perhaps all I want to say is, they don't really care about us.

The second news item comes from the Punjab Assembly where Shakespearean quotes seem to have sparked off an offense-taking spree from Lahore-loving MNAs. According to Dawn (pg3, 'Of Lahore, Rome and Prickliness'):

"Sheikh Ala-ud-Din of PML-Q Forward Bloc on Saturday must have made history in the Punjab Assembly when he walked out of the house in protest against something that was never said. The ire of the Sheikh, a member from Kasur (PP-181) fell on Mohsin Leghari (PP-245, DG Khan) of the PML-Q when Mr Leghari, while accentuating his southern roots, read a few lines from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Mr Leghari, delivering his budget speech, maintained the finance bill was more of an urban document, which excluded rural development. Speaking on the neglect of southern Punjab, he said though he loved Lahore – a city where he was educated, got his first employment and still resides in – he has not forgotten his ancestral land. Explaining his predicament, he quoted from the last scene of the Julius Caesar, where Brutus explains his killing of Caesar by saying: “It’s not that I loved Caesar less, but I loved Rome more.” Provoked either by his lack of understanding or knowledge, Mr Ala-ud-Din immediately stood on a point of order and started grilling Mr Leghari for insulting Lahore, which gave him education, employment and residence, and thundered:
“This Lahore bashing must end, especially by those who have benefited immensely from the city.” Both Speaker Rana Iqbal and Mr Mohsin tried to convince their colleague that no insulting remark had been passed against Lahore, but to no avail. After making an emotional speech, Sheikh Ala-ud Din walked out of the house in protest against “insult to Lahore”. He was later brought back by Education Minister Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rahman on speaker’s request, and the minister also lectured the house on avoiding hurting each others’ territorial feelings. As if all this was not enough, Dr Asad Ashraf of the PML-N found a new dimension to the innocent quote and stunned everyone in the house. On next point of order, he took off by saying: “Since Mr Mohsin has called himself Caesar, he must know how Caesar was born. It was his difficult birth, which gave birth to Caesarian Operation (C-Section). How bad Caesar proved for his mother.”"

You know what they say, about a little education being a bad thing?

No comments: