Finally, the Election Commission of Pakistan has shown the courage to take Imran Khan and his cronies to task. They had apparently assumed that they could get away with anything, and the ECP's reluctance to hear the foreign funding scam as well as allowing Faisal Vawda to go free despite perjury may have made them think that the establishment would support them. Even now, by deciding to challenge ECP's order to hold bye-election in the entire constituency (instead of the 22 polling stations where the PTI kidnapped polling officers and stuffed ballot boxes with fake votes), Imran thinks he can force the apex court to reverse ECP's decision. It also proves that his party men carried out rigging in all polling stations, and that is why they do not want re-polling in the entire constituency.

By now, the courts are also aware that Imran is very unpopular, given that in most bye-elections, his party has lost. So I would be very surprised if the apex court decides to support him now, given that it is evident that his party men carried out the kidnappings and rigging. If the court decides that the ECP's order is correct, it will be the final nail in Imran's coffin. He may well decide to resign or call for new elections, but his goose has been cooked. Sooner or later, he will have to pay for his crimes.

When the ECP with-held the results of the rigged bye-election in Daska, I heaved a sigh of relief. Now, I said to myself, the ECP is neutral, and hopefully it will remain so. I was wrong. The ECP is either biased against PML-N or it is being forced to favor Imran Khan.

Faisal Vawda's case has been pending for more than a year. Yet he defiantly refuses to attend hearings, so much so that the ECP fined him Rs. 50,000 (a pittance), and fixed the next hearing after two weeks. So, when he applied for Senate elections, his application should have been automatically rejected, yet the ECP accepted it without hesitation. when this decision was challenged in the Tribunal, it was again accepted. Yet Parvez Rasheed of the PML-N has been rejected by the ECP on flimsy grounds. If Shakespeare had been alive, he would've said, "What meat does this Vawda eat, that everyone is so scared of him?". 

I won't be surprised if the establishment goes all out to support Imran in the senate elections next month. Maybe they'll allow the PPP to win a few extra seats, but as far as the PMLN is concerned, they know they'll be in trouble if it wins. 

Imran Khan must be regretting the day he decided to enter politics. He knows that after two and a half years of mis-governance, he doesn't stand a chance of winning a bye-election. And so it proved. His party lost its coveted seat in Nowshera and more seats in Punjab and Sindh. When he saw which way the wind was blowing, after seeing the obviously high turnout of PMLN supporters at the polling booths, he arranged to rig the bye-election in Daska. But this time apparently he didn't have the support of the establishment, so he used the police to do so. And, as expected, the police bungled.

Twenty two polling presiding officers were kidnapped and held incommunicado for eleven hours. They returned with bags full of bogus votes and (wonder of wonders!), all the bogus votes were in favor of the ruling party! Voter turnout in other polling stations was 35 percent, but in those where the kidnapped officers were posted, it was 88 percent. Even Imran Khan must have been stunned at the stupidity of his men.

But we're lucky that the whole thing was made viral on social media, including the capture of one man who was taking away bags full of genuine votes. The man was handed over to the cops, who will probably confine him in a secret place for the next few days.

Even the Election Commission has been compelled to say that there has been rigging and has refused to announce the result until its inquiry is conducted. If Iman's men hadn't been so inefficient, his party would have won the seat, but now it looks like another election will have to be done. Unless the Election Commissioner is coerced into declaring victory for the ruling party in the rigged bye-election. 

I remember the days when our judiciary was regarded as incorruptible and highly esteemed. If I told my father about a high court Pakistani judge who was rumored to take bribes to settle cases, he would be livid with anger. "A lower court judge may be corrupt, but a high court judge is always honest", he would shout. 

Today, just when I thought the judiciary wouldn't lower itself further in its open support for Imran Khan, the Supreme Court chief justice said something that confirmed my view about the establishment forcing judges to ensure that Imran Khan stays in power until 2023 (and perhaps even beyond that). In a fairly simple case that should have been decided in five minutes (whether senate elections should be held via open or secret ballot), the honorable judge told the Election Commission that it would be responsible if Imran Khan's party didn't get a majority in the forthcoming senate elections (which will surely happen if secret balloting is allowed, as it should be). In fact, the judge went even further, lamenting that both PPP and PLMN had failed to pass a law to hold senate elections via open balloting, as they had agreed to do when they were in opposition).

And, as expected, Faisal Vawda has been allowed to contest the elections, despite having failed to appear before the Election Commission to explain whether he was a dual national when he stood for the 2018 elections. It should be obvious to even certified morons that the man is guilty of perjury, yet the Commission accepted his nomination papers without even a cursory inspection. The way Vawda walked out of the ECP's offices after getting his papers accepted, one would've thought he was the supreme commander of the armed forces. At the same time, the papers of  PMLN's Parvez Rasheed were rejected for not having paid some government dues. 

So it's obvious that the establishment will go all out to get Imran's men elected. It will be a black day in Pakistan's history if that happens. 

Imran Khan is desperately trying to persuade the apex court to order the senate elections to be held through open ballot (although when he was in opposition, he preferred secret balloting). Even if the court does support him, it's very likely that his own party men will either cast votes for the opposition or they will not show up for the elections. The reason is that his party members are now convinced that the man cannot be trusted. Instead of giving tickets to faithful party members, he has chosen outsiders. Even that so-called religious scholar Amir Liaquat has said he will not vote for Hafeez Shaikh, as the latter is not a PTI member.

Faisal Vawda is one man who should not have been given the ticket. He is in imminent danger of losing his National Assembly seat (which he won by only 700 votes in a rigged election). Apparently Imran doesn't know that even if Vawda does get elected to the senate, he can still be disqualified for perjury. There is also a fake degree case pending against him. But since Vawda is a filthily rich man who has paid loads of money to the party in the past, he is preferred to senior party workers. 

Another person nominated by him is his wife's close friend Farah. This too has been met with a strong resistance from his party members. I won't be surprised if some of them resign from PTI and join other parties.

I hope the senate elections are held via secret ballot. Imran Khan will be shocked to know that he's so highly unpopular (though he should have guessed it from the very low number of votes his party got in the three bye-elections held yesterday).

I have two female relatives who are aged 94 or 95. I often wonder why they go on living. One of them simply stares with unblinking eyes without saying anything, the other has difficulty talking or remembering the names of even her children. I've often observed that in most cases, women live much longer than their husbands. 

Perhaps it's because their immunity is strong. Their bodies, having gone through several childbirths, are naturally stronger. Then there is the greater mental stress that men have to undergo. Usually, men are smokers and drinkers, which reduces their life expectancy. 

In my own family, my father died at the age of 73, while my mother lived up to the age of 80. I've had male cousins who died before the age of 70, while their wives are still alive, even though more than ten years have passed since they became widows. Only one uncle of mine lived longer than his wife (my father's only sister).

Of course, it was different fifty years back, when many women would die in childbirth and there were no antibiotics. I remember going to a cemetery in the coastal area of Karachi, where from the headstones on graves of women, one could see that most of them died between the ages of 20 and 30. Advances in medicines and drugs, particularly the easy availability of antibiotics now protects women from early deaths.

Nothing about Pakistan should surprise us any more. This country was founded by a lawyer who would have been ashamed and appalled to see the behavior of lawyers today. A couple of days back, the Islamabad High Court was ransacked by lawyers protesting against the demolition of their chambers (which had been built on encroached land). A few days ago, something similar happened in Lahore. And before that, lawyers attacked a hospital in Lahore, resulting in the instantaneous death of at least one patient, and some more in the days following the incident. 

But what I'll never forget is how lawyers embraced a convicted, cold-blooded murderer (Mumtaz Qadri) in court. Today, the killer's shrine is visited by not only lawyers but also government ministers, one of whom (the uncouth Fayyaz Chohan of Lahore) sings religious songs on his death anniversary. 

Of course it was inevitable, we should have realized this after the nationalization of education by Bhutto, who was himself a very learned lawyer. But then, he wanted to give employment to his party cadres, just as the prime ministers who came after him did. Not that it helped any of them. Ultimately, it's a prime minister's performance that ensures his government's survival. Even if that government has the full support of the establishment (like the floundering government headed by a compulsive liar that we have today).

 I wanted to get vaccinated as soon as possible, but suddenly I don't think it's a good idea. First, there was that woman health minister of Punjab (Yasmin Rashid) who cautioned people to weigh the options first, as some people had suffered side effects and had even died after being vaccinated. And I read about a fifty year old perfectly healthy American popping off a couple of days after receiving the vaccine. 

But the biggest irony is that the Chinese vaccine in Pakistan is not meant for the people most at risk: those over 60, those under 18 and those having diabetes, asthma or other diseases. This virtually rules out everyone in the country, where most people are addicted to gutka and other narcotics.

Finally, the vaccine will be rejected by Pakistanis due to the wide-spread suspicion that it will reduce the population. I have a video clip showing two analysts of whom one (Zaid Hamid) firmly says that it will make women infertile. This is the main reason why polio has so far not been eradicated in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where most men think they will be the butt of jokes if their wives stop bearing children. As one of them once said to me, "My wife has had only five children and now she doesn't get pregnant, my friends think I'm impotent, so I'll take another wife to prove I'm still active". 

If any further proof of the judiciary's support to Imran Khan was needed, the Islamabad High Court has given it. It said it cannot disqualify any parliamentarians because it would not be fair to their constituents. Strange, because it was the judiciary that removed Nawaz Sharif from power for not receiving any salary from a company owned by his son. At that time, the judges did not consider the fact that the whole country would be affected (and it did, as subsequent events have proved).

Fawad Choudhry and Faisal Vawda have been facing disqualification ever since they were elected. Yet whenever their cases came up for hearing, the court granted postponements. Faisal Vawda's case is interesting, because he is supposed to have made a false statement when submitting his documents to the Election Commission. It's an open and shut case, and can be decided in five minutes. Yet the court is dithering, which makes one suspect that powerful people are behind the postponements. 

All this does not augur well for the country. If the courts are not independent, only chaos can result. One hopes the Supreme Court will take suo moto notice and do what has to be done to save the nation.

 The boundless stupidity of our lawmakers is amazing. As if our children don't have enough to do, our senators have recommended that they should learn Arabic as well. Senator Ali Mohammed Khan said it's necessary to learn Arabic to become a good Muslim, implying that those who can't speak Arabic (like himself) are not good Muslims. Another senator said that Arabic is the only language spoken in heaven, as if he's gone there and come back. Only one senator (Raza Rabbani) had the guts to oppose the measure. May his tribe increase.

Zia forced the only TV channel in the country to telecast news in Arabic everyday. Obviously he wanted to convince stupid Arab rulers that we are Muslims like them. The telecasts were discontinued after he died and went to his creator. 

Of course it's not going to stop there. A few days back, there were rumors that Imran Khan was seriously thinking of forcing female TV anchors to cover their heads. He was dissuaded from doing so by his advisors who told him it would make him very unpopular. I won't be surprised if he makes all female government employees to wear the all-encompassing burqa. There is no limit to the stupidity of this idiot and his cronies.