Pardon, but Your Slip is Showing

The slips of the High Command have been showing from day one, but the mirror was missing, and so, they did not know how they appeared to us lesser folk, their mouths foaming with mendacity.

As I survey our High Command scene, I am reminded of Mulligan’s [??] tale about the King who made his court jester king for one day, and he was allowed to do anything he liked. The jester confined himself to ordering one reform, and this had to do with the army. He had their pants turned around, wearing them with their hip pockets in front, and buttoned in the rear.

An utterly surprised King asked what was the good of this reform. “Sire”, explained the jester, “this will make it easier for the junior in the rear to unbutton the senior ahead and get a peep at what he has hidden all his life. So, the mouse trying to get out from under the skin would finally show up. This will be a lot of fun and be good for morale all around”! Indeed, seeing a mouse that has waited a lifetime to crawl out from under the skin of a “superior” officer, would be a great deal of fun. This would be especially the case if the mouse were the Chief’s and one got a glimpse of Mighty Mouse. Yet, when it becomes a case of too many little mice, appearing day after day, it ceases to remain fun.

After taking over, the Chief was especially careful that his slip did not show for a good ten months and so, his mice remained firmly bottled in, and his agenda hidden. And none of his subordinates took the trouble of extending his arm to unbutton him and see what was inside. Since then, he has let out one or two mice almost every time he has opened his mouth.

The first time he did so, he began by letting out a whole nest of them. This happened on Sep 3, 2023 when addressing a group of businessmen in Lahore [or was it Karachi??]. He promised them that he would bring a halt to smuggling, bring about law and order, squelch the insurgencies, lift the economy, and bring about an end to corruption etc etc. Everyone was suitably impressed. Being businessmen, they clapped louder and longer than most, and declared that the Chief’s speech was “a breath of fresh air”! And he had little trouble believing them. This reminded me of another of Mullgan’s witticisms: ” My uncle was the greatest man in the world. He told me so himself”!

Things having got off on a rollicking start, the Chief was suitably encouraged, and he ensured that there would not be dull moment after that. His next major declaration was that he would lift Pakistan’s troubled economy by employing his army to do the sowing and the harvesting of crops on tens of thoussands of acres. The people welcomed this because, for this, the army would have to put aside their bayonets for a while. And what a relief that would be!

He also promised to bring in 75 billion dollars of foreign investment, to beat the shit out of the May 9 culprits, to fix our education system, to throw out army officers who did not like him, and stop the pensions of retired ones who blasphemed against him. Actually, the subjects he has talked about and all the problems he has fixed are too many to count.

In top secret private conclaves with his bevy of marshals meanwhile, he has occasionally been known to have given free play to his hidden reserves of humility, by declaring that he would like the use of unimpeded autocratic power for no more than ten years. It was toward that end that he and his marshals, ably assisted by Qazi Faez Isa and Sikander Sultan Raja, planned every minute detail of the Feb 8 elections, and screwed them up comprehensively. Learning from that experience, they did not commit the same mistakes in the April 21 by-elections. They committed new ones. And that was so much fun.

Indeed, every thing that this High Command and their Chief has touched has been a calamity without relief, but finally, after three months of imposed democracy, their slips have begun to show. It is becoming clear that what has lain hidden under their skins, wanting to get out, has been a case of All Mouse And No Lion.

A perceptible panic seems to have set in among them. Their fright appears to have been ignited by two realizations.

The first is that democracy, no matter how lame, will insist on drawing its own pound of flesh. And this pound will be drawn from the share of the Generals. Thus, their hold on power, having to be shared with the thugs and crooks that they themselves installed, will not remain as unimpeded as Asim Munir would have hoped.

The second realization, which must have sunk in by now, is that not all Qazi Faez Isa’s dishonesty can match the power of even a couple of judges of the superior judiciary, if they decided to stand together and opposed the dictatorship of the generals, and the hyocrisy of Qazi. In the present case however six of them have picked up the cudgels to make their stand on behalf of the judiciary. Unlike Asim Munir, Qazi Isa, though thoroughly corrupt and unprincipled, and enjoying the backing of every one of its six lakh bayonets, cannot send a single judge home. This makes the judiciary far more unmanageable than the army where Lt Gens can be thrown out without notice. If these judges refuse to get cowed down, and keep standing, and if a few more join them, it is entirely possible that a score of them will be able to retrieve the destiny of their country from the fire in which its generals have shoved it.

Of the miracles which we have suffered in the recent past, this might be the one that might remedy the ill effects of all the rest.

Where Justice Babar Sattar, God bless him, has led the charge for Pakistan, Babar Azam seems to have led one for Imran Khan. Reportedly in his meeting with Gen Asim Munir [ April 27 ??], he advised the General that Imran Khan was not just an ex captain of Pakistan’s cricket team, but that he was a the hero to every Pakistani, and should therefore not be getting the ill treatment he is receiving at present. This was an amazing bit of news and would have inclined the General to drop more than a mere mouse in his pants.

Because need was felt that this be denied by the “sarkari” social media, I am inclined to believe that this must be true.

And if that be so, the High Command would be best advised to hold tight to their pants and not allow the mice to escape. This would be bad for the credibility of those who roar like lions when confronting subordinates, unarmed citzens, and powerless housewives.

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