The hype around the marriage of Sania Mirza with Shoaib Malik entered its final phase this week — or did it? Referring to the Sialkot "valima", The News reported on April 26: "It was a unique event for the people of Sialkot, who had been waiting for the arrival of cricketer Shoaib and tennis sensation Sania for the past several days. Only people with special invitation were allowed to enter the venue amid tight security." Another report attempted to decode the "special invitation cards," on April 27: "Additional District and Sessions Judge Malik Muhammad Rafiq sought a reply by May 3, from the SHO Racecourse Police Station on a petition seeking registration of a case against cricketer Shoaib Malik for selling the invitation cards of his valima reception. The court passed the orders on a petition filed by a citizen Safdar Ali, levelling charges that the newly-wed couple had hurt the feelings of their fans by selling their marriage invitation cards from Rs10,000 to 15,000." However, Daily Times reported on April 28, the couple's adherence to the Punjab government's austerity guidelines: "In complete observance of government policy, the guests were treated only to a one-dish menu and the event ended on the scheduled time of 10 pm."
In a first-of-its-kind probe, a senior serving military officer has been pulled up for hosing down the site of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, reports Dawn on April 27. Maj Gen Nadeem Ejaz headed military intelligence (MI) when the former PM was murdered. On April 28, Dawn added: "The sources said the former MI chief's statement would be crucial because if it was proved that he was behind the episode, it would bring more people at the helm of affairs at that time into the fray." The officer refuted the charges leveled against him, reported Dawn on April 29: "Maj-Gen Nadeem Ejaz, a former director-general of MI, has rejected as baseless insinuations that he had ordered the hosing down of the site of Benazir Bhutto's assassination on December 27, 2007. According to sources, the ex-MI chief submitted a detailed statement... to the three-member committee investigating the washing down of the crime scene."
Soothing anxious nerves were senior PPP figures. An advisor to PM Yousaf Raza Gilani was quoted by Daily Times as saying on April 27: "the murderers of Benazir Bhutto cannot escape punishment, notwithstanding how powerful they may be. If the inquiry committee finds any evidence against ex-president Pervez Musharraf's involvement in it, he would be brought back through Interpol." Daily Times also added on April 28: "The report of the criminal investigation into Benazir Bhutto's assassination would be ready next month and the individuals identified in the report will be brought to justice, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said... 'The Pakistan People's Party-led coalition government does not believe in politics of victimisation, however it would not spare the criminals who deprived Pakistan of a great leader,' Kaira said."
Jab They Met
The anxiety over a meeting between the PMs of India and Pakistan along the sidelines of the SAARC summit kept political commentators busy. Daily Times reported on April 28: "A familiar game of 'will they-won't they' centred on a possible meeting between the leaders of India and Pakistan looks set to overshadow a summit of South Asian nations in Bhutan... The summit is supposed to culminate in a joint declaration entitled 'Towards A Green and Happy South Asia', but with the region's bitterest rivals barely on speaking terms, there is unlikely to be much cheer to spread around." When the much anticipated meeting actually took place, Daily Times reported on April 29: "India and Pakistan agreed to revive dialogue...without any preconditions" Dawn carried a hitherto unknown piece of information: "The Indian PM said Gilani commanded respect because he had a number of spiritual followers in India. His forefathers... had laid the foundation of the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the Sikh people were
aware of the fact."
Chief justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry continues his use of suo motu notices. Daily Times reported on April 29: "The Supreme Court declared the PM's promotion of 54 bureaucrats to Grade 22 'null and void', after suspending the notification on the changes in the bureaucracy last year. The changes in the bureaucracy were made in September last year." The executive appears to fight the judiciary, as Dawn reported: "Clear indications came from the government camp that it was determined to retain key officers on the positions to which they were promoted by the PM in September last year, but from which they were removed as a result of the court's decision." An analytical report in Dawn stated: "the landmark judgment will go a long way in discouraging the use of discretionary powers by governments to elevate their favourites to senior positions and will set guidelines for future promotions."