The twittervesre is outraged at Dr Babar Awan, not because he had one of his usual bouts of tweeting with caps lock on, but because he was awarded the post of Vice President of Pakistan People’s Party. I can’t understand the animosity his appointment has garnered. Not only is he an educated man, he is also an astute lawyer, a good orator, a TV presenter par excellence, a writer and man who speaks the language of our masters (no silly, everyone speaks English, he is fluent in Arabic). Seriously; what’s not to like?
One can be a little perturbed at this development because how can a political party have a vice president when it does not have a president – Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Daddy Zardari share the chairmanship of the party – but this much anger on an appointment is a little misplaced.
The appointment of the good doctor is quite befitting; after all, who else could have matched his towering personality and his innumerable accomplishments. The cynics think that party has other stalwarts who could have been better suited for the job, but no one comes even close. Named after the Mughal king, Zaheer-ud-din Babar, the new Vice President is a man amongst men. Aitezaz Ahsan and Sherry Rehman may have written an odd book or two about Indus River and Kashmiri shawls, but the esteemed barrister has authored several books. It is besides the point that no one seems to know the titles of the books and what those books are about. Unfortunately, a hurried Google search about his penmanship yielded no conclusive results.
Rehman Malik may have been awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Karachi University, but Dr Babar Awan is heads and shoulders above his fellow party man. He does not wait for local universities to confer doctorates upon him; he invents a university as delicately named as Monticello – which perhaps reminds one of a high end spaghetti sauce or Thomas Jefferson – and bestow a doctorate upon himself.
Dr Babar Awan is also not a serial party hopper like some other dudes whose final destination seems to be PTI these days. He only jumped the ship once and has been with Pakistan People’s Party since 1990s. Wikipedia reports that his brother is part of a Mutahidda Qaumi Movement in Punjab but that is only to spread brotherhood and good cheer. I don’t see him joining Altaf Bhai any time soon.
Not just politicians, Dr Babar Awan can give TV personalities like Amir Liaquat and Sahir Lodhi a run for money. Unlike Amir Liaquat who carries the show on the basis of sheer verbosity and Sahir Lodhi who only moonlights as a religious presenter in Ramazan and is known more for his dance moves and questionable wardrobe, Dr Awan is a genuine bona fide religious scholar who used to present a show on religious laws on a local tv channel. The ratings of his show were however not available to be compared with the other two gentlemen.
What the naysayers do not get is that vice president ship of a party is a very significant post and cannot be given to just anyone. The reason this important post was given to Dr Babar Awan is that if there ever was a declamation or an oration contest between vice chairmen and presidents of Pakistani political parties, Pakistan people’s party would not want to lose it to its erstwhile member and the new, asli tay vada and very senior vice chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf.
A slightly edited version was first published in The Express Tribune