The final installment of the series.
What quips, quirks, snafus and scandals does Pakistan’s future hold? Tazeen Javed time travels to 2021 and blogs about what makes the Land of the Pure tick – or is it explode? – in the coming decade.
April 1, 2021
ISLAMABAD: The newly-elected government of Mr Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has completed its first 100 days in office. The landmark event was celebrated by a national holiday here on Tuesday, which takes the tally of Bhutto family-related national holidays to seven (the other holidays were birthdays and death anniversaries of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the annual commemoration of Mr Asif Ali Zardari’s 10-year anniversary in the presidential office, and the wedding anniversary of Prime Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari).
The notable constitutional amendment passed under PM Bhutto-Zardari’s parliament is the imposition of tax on royalties of all creative art forms, including sales of books, music records and art. However, it has not improved the condition of the national exchequer as only two books were published in the country last year and the pirated version of all the music created in Pakistan is available online, which results in absolutely no sales for the recording labels.
While addressing the nation, PM Bhutto-Zardari shared the good news that Pakistan has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for a single family holding the maximum number of ministries and other official positions in a country. In addition to the office of the president (held by the father of the prime minister) and that of a federal minister (his younger sister Asifa Bhutto-Zardari fills that spot), various ministerial posts are occupied by an assortment of uncles, aunties and cousins.
Leader of opposition, Mr Hamza Shahbaz called it a black day in the history of Pakistani politics and vowed that when his party assumes office, it will purge the government of the element of nepotism. He said that only a handful of positions would be held by his immediate family and substantiated the claim with the fact that in his family, women do not participate in politics, which automatically decreases the number of family members seeking official positions.
Meanwhile, Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussein sent flowers to the prime minister on this auspicious day. In a televised phone call from London to the PM secretariat, Mr Hussein said that Bhutto-Zardari would make a historic leader. Hussein added that PM Bilawal’s achievements have been exemplary since he was a little kid and had a famous chowk named after him in the port city of Karachi at the ripe-old age of five. He performed fateha for the PM’s martyred mother and cried a little while remembering the shaheed leader.
The evergreen Pir Pagaro congratulated the young prime minister and said that there would be a phoenix rising, adding that Sindh will be waterlogged and papers will fly. When asked about Pir Sahib’s message, the prime minister said that the Pir never made much sense – even in his lucid days – and that it would be futile to expect such an old man to make any sense at all.
Jamaat-e-Islami’s amir Qazi Hussein Ahmed initially announced a long march to protest the lavish celebrations to observe the first 100 days of the government, but had to retract after his party members refused yet another long march. One young member of the JI, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that per diem provided to long march participants has remained the same for the past five years and it has become almost impossible to recruit anyone to take part in long march at the old rates. Imran Khan, who now runs a successful media consultancy, agreed with the Jamaat’s new direction and suggested an online virtual march as a less expensive option. It is still not known if Jamaat plans to go virtual.