His magical misery tour
- Top BJP ministers attend RSS meet, Opposition questions govt's accountability
- Bharat bandh: Violence, arrest, chaos; one-day strike a 'grand success'
- Indrani, Peter brought face to face, questioned extensively; Sanjeev Khanna's laptop seized
- OROP: Veterans soften stand, may accept pension revision once in two years
- Govt to auction 69 oil & gas fields of ONGC, Oil India to private firms
India is unhappy with Rehman Malik's recent visit. But, at least, India had him only for three days
Pakistan's interior minister just came back from a three-day harmony trip to India. Though a short jaunt by most standards, three days turned out to be just enough time for him to anger practically everybody (quite a feat with a billion people) with pointed references and baroque rhetoric. Depending on how far right your politics are, he pulled it off the first day. Clearly, you guys aren't happy with Rehman Malik. If it helps, few people ever are.
I follow Rehman Malik on Twitter, both for entertainment value and because I wanted to put a face to the man who is responsible for the ongoing YouTube ban in Pakistan, a move as shortsighted as it is long lasting. (I cannot convey the indignity of having to download a proxy to see videos of cats doing cartwheels.) He's actually quite fond of banning. On Eid, for instance, all mobile phones go off for the whole day/ night, as a way to deter terrorists from using their Nokias as remote detonators. The same thing happens during Ashura in Muharram, and other big days. You can imagine how Lord of the Flies things can get. Though he's not solely responsible for everything, he is the beleaguered face of guilt when things go badly, the man our media can turn to when anyone gets bombed anywhere. It's not an easy position to be in and one can forgive him then for having the look of a mad, but exhausted, scientist.
He is not taken especially seriously here, as your own media has repeatedly pointed out in an attempt to gain closure, though that doesn't deter him from making grand and strange statements. When Karachi's Mehran Air Base was attacked, it was he who invaluably added that the terrorists were "dressed like Star Wars characters" (Chewy or Princess Leia, he did not specify). He has said that 70 per cent of target killings in Karachi are actually just couples trying to break up, and he actually thanked the Taliban for not killing people during Muharram. Last year, when Benazir Bhutto's mother, Begum Nusrat Bhutto, died, her funeral was televised nationally. Watch the burial footage and you'll notice the who's who of the Pakistan Peoples Party government jostling to be close to the body. Watch the clip very closely, and you'll see Rehman Malik so desperate to be close to the action that he fell into the grave, only to be shooed off by the president. That clip endeared him to me, in the way that Kramer from