A couple of years back, a Dutch friend left Pakistan after having lived here for a few years, when I asked him how does he find life back home, his answer was: boring and mundane. When I asked him to elaborate, he said that he missed the uncertainty of the not getting hot water in the middle of a shower because of gas load shedding, the random strikes for reasons that had nothing to with Pakistani people and the fickle cabbies of Lahore who can charge anything between Rs 150 to 750 for the same distance depending upon the skin color the customer, time of day and (night) and the state you are in (inebriated or sober).
Life in most other countries is humdrum and monotonous; if you are Icelandic, you know you are famous for feminist politicians and banking crisis. In Finland, you know that you export one brand of cell phones and multiple types of fish. Pakistanis have transcended beyond tangible goods and have now started exporting djinns to kill errant housewives. If you are from Swaziland your claim to fame could be the two dozen wives of your king and crushing poverty. But if you are a Pakistani, you have hundreds of parliamentarians who are polygamists. In a society where nothing is predictable, the only thing you can be sure about is that 265 days out of 365, shit is going to hit the fan, you get a hundred day respite because there is no electricity for the fan on those days.
Pakistan is at the top of all things ridiculous, so ridiculous that we can be called subliminally ridiculous. Every country – other than Iceland of course – has some misogynist politicians trying to tell women not to drive or have abortions, wear or not to wear burqa or contest elections, but Pakistan beats them all with the likes of Samina Khawar Hayat, a woman who is not only a misogynist politician but she also advocates and promotes polygamy by trying to make it mandatory for the well off men.
Reams of newsprint and hours upon hours of airtime were devoted to discuss the dent to Pakistani sovereignty (which is as mythical as fire breathing dragons) when US troops landed in Abbotabad to capture Bin Laden but no one barring an odd blogger or a piece in an English daily asked if Osama and his assorted wives living and procreating in Pakistan mocked the sovereignty of the country or not.
The latest entrant in the list – but certainly not the most ridiculous – is the 37 second long sentence handed out to the Prime Minister. While expert are calling it a symbolic sentence, most of us masses are stupefied at the ingenuity of the judges who came up with the sentences. Apart from a tv anchor or two who may suffer brain aneurysm while discussing this sentence, law journals across the world would be commissioning academic research on what could be entered in Guinness Book of world records as the shortest possible sentence, a record that can only be broken by something just as subliminally ridiculous happening in Pakistan. Of course no one will ask the esteemed court about the about the hundreds of thousands of rupees of tax payers money spent on a conviction that lasted less time than it took to write the sentence.
Other countries may be just as ludicrous as we are if not more, what tips the scale in our favour on the ridiculous meter is that we do not even try. To top it all, we do not even have the decency of being charming and quirky about it.