No sooner had the man formerly known as His Imminence arrived, then did he lose his footing to stumble and fall. Though never once dropping that weighted begging bowl; without which he never dared leave home. What better way for a former sportsman to incorporate a fitness regime in to his new helicopter lifestyle that is fraught with U-turn after U-turn? Honestly, his determination knows no bounds. But even then, it is no match for a certain wily mullah who seeks legitimisation not through divine intervention but at the man-made ballot-box. And not being bogged down by such cumbersome props as sported by his fast-bowling frenemy has left Khadim Rizvi and his merry men with their hands free to loot the people in a redistribution of revisionist wealth. All the while robbing the poor to, well, pocket the change while feeding off the fruits of others’ hard labour. It really is quite bananas. Though, of course, inciting the citizenry to religious hatred and murder should never be attempted on an empty stomach. It paid off. For the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) posse was full of fortitude. Whereas Kaptaan Khan, who was busy flexing his muscles ahead of yet another round of weightlifting, this time in China, with his most un-coveted dumbbell complete with begging bowl firmly attached at each end, had just about enough energy to warn these old upstarts not to mess with state institutions. Underscoring how brain and brawn are not always a natural fit — Immy forgot to mention how it wasn’t quite cricket to ask for a poor Christian woman’s head on a stick. Indeed, he had difficulty even remembering Asia Bibi’s name. Yet truth be told, this wasn’t his fault. Not really. For he must have been banking on the uniformed top dog to step in during his absence and impose martial law as payback for Rizvi’s audacious call to have the boys in khaki stage a revolt against their boss. Imagine his shock upon returning to discover that he, the Prime Minister, was expected to clean up the mess. Never one to get his hands dirty, he decided to bend over instead. Thereby reminding everyone that Pakistan is a very hard country indeed. Women understand the frustration of explaining everyday misogyny, causal or otherwise, to the privileged gender. Thus it should be easier for those belonging to the majority faith to recognise the violent behavioural patterns meted out to non-Muslims and Muslim minority sects Naturally, Immy can’t take all the credit for sweeping such matters under the proverbial non-flying carpet. For when it comes to successive political leaderships and the minority question — most have chosen to turn the other cheek even as the whole country goes blind. Those that have stood up and spoken out for the persecuted ended up with bullets to the head; their killers venerated by Rizvi and his ilk. But such capitulation comes at a cost. And it is one for which no friendly nation can be expected to pick up the tab. Regardless of offers to repay such generosity at double rates. Certain sections of the chattering class are also complicit in invisiblising the plight of Pakistan’s minorities; preferring to self-indulgently bask in the warm glow of being on the ‘right side of history’ simply because the Supreme Court’s acquittal of Asia Bibi happened in their lifetime. And while the verdict must be commended, this doesn’t mean the hard work has been done. Rather, this is just the beginning; as the broader Christian community prepares to face the inevitable backlash. And elsewhere, too, other elite circles talk of the sensitivity of the issue and of waiting to see the compound increments of the judiciary’s bold and just decision before making an assessment. Such fence-sitting masquerades as reasonableness. When, in fact, outrage is needed. For without this, there will be no sustainable mobilisation to ensure that the protection of all minority rights are never snatched off the table by majority hands that tend to view the suffering of the marginalised as little more than armchair voyeurism. Countering this will require walking in others’ shoes. And it is here that feminists should consider taking the lead; outright. Not due to outdated notions of gendered nurturing. But because all women have first-hand experience of the patriarchy; that structurally unjust system that keeps the imbalance of power forever tilted in men’s favour. Meaning that just as women understand the frustration of explaining everyday misogyny, causal or otherwise, to the privileged gender — so, too, should it be easier for those belonging to the majority faith to recognise the violent behavioural patterns meted out to non-Muslims and Muslim minority sects. Asia Bib’s case, is both a political and a feminist issue and must recognised as such. After all, as an Iron-fisted prime minister once said: “in politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.” So, Immy, it’s over to us now. The writer is the Deputy Managing Editor, Daily Times. She can be reached at email@example.com and tweets @humeiwei Published in Daily Times, November 11th 2018.