Tagged with " Imran Khan"

Calling out the real bullies


Bullies; we have all heard of them at some point in our lives, the more unfortunate ones amongst us have faced the wrath of bullies at no provocation at all. However, very few of us stand up to them. In fact people who get bullied often lash out at their well wishers who either point out the fact that they are being bullied or tell them to give it back to their bullies. 
Something similar happened with Najam Sethi on the eve of February 7th. In his TV show, Najam Sethi ran a clip of Maulana Fazlur Rehman alluding that Imran Khan of PTI is politicking at the behest of some nameless and faceless Jews. He also ran a clip of Mr. Imran Khan saying that Maulana Fazlur Rehman is one of the three people who are responsible for the mess the country is in. Sethi later on said that Imran Khan should have been more vocal in his defense and should have denounced Maulana more vociferously than he did because Maulana will not let go of Imran Khan’s Jewish connection (Khan’s ex-wife and mother of his children is of Jewish, Catholic & Protestant heritage) and will use it again and again during the elections later this year.
Jemima Khan, Khan’s ex-wife, heard the words “Imran Khan, Jewish lobby, conspiracy” and without actually watching the programme or asking anyone with a better grasp of Urdu, jumped to the conclusion that it was Najam Sethi who was stirring up trouble for Khan. She was never considered particularly bright by anyone of note, and now even less so when she took to the microblogging website, Twitter, to start a personal attack on Najam Sethi (She wrote that Mr Sethi has always been critical of Imran Khan except when his wife and Mr Sethi wanted an invitation to dinner with late Princess Diana) perhaps undermining the credibility of Mr. Sethi as a journalist.
What followed that was just as crazy as any other war of words on social media is, but it is significant in revealing that politics based on religion is not just here and now, it is flourishing with every passing day. No one is willing to take on this issue head-on, instead they either try to shoot the messenger – in this case Najam Sethi – or join forces with the forces spreading vitriolic hatred against the other.  It was Maulana Fazlur Rehman who first spoke about Khan’s Jewish connection but it was Sethi – an easier target who can perhaps only retaliate with arguments instead of something more sinister or dangerous – who got burned for just pointing his fingers to the bully in question.
Some really charged up PTI member even started an online campaign for Sethi to be removed from the air for “making some immoral remarks about Imran Khan’s ex-wife Jemima Khan.” The fact that the campaign has received 631 signatures as yet tells us a lot about how people form opinions – divorced from reason, nuance, logic – and choose their candidate based on that very opinion come election time.  
In past, Imran Khan has been roughed up by the goons of Islami Jamiat Talaba in Punjab University but we have not heard such vehement condemnation for them, either because of political expediency or because of the fact that PTI was afraid of a repeat performance. Whatever the reason is, no one is calling out the real bullies who are getting away with all kinds of transgressions. 
An edited version was first published in The Express Tribune
PS: I guess Jemima Khan is quite fond of picking up fights with random people on twitter, sometimes they are famous journalists like Najam Sethi, sometimes they are nobodies like me. Hereis an account of Jemima Bibi calling me names for questioning if hers is the real account before she got verified.
Jan 14, 2012 - published work    6 Comments

Land of rumour and hyperbole

They say there is no business like show business. The case of Pakistan, however, is a tad different and here there is no business like news business. Take any newspaper for instance; the front page would be full of statements, rhetoric, hearsay and guess work. There is hardly any good old-fashioned, solid news.

Every newspaper — national or vernacular — is wondering the state of Mansoor Ijaz’s visa application for his appearance before the judicial commission in Islamabad. Whether he has applied for the visa or not, and in case he applies for it, will he apply for a visa in Washington DC or London? Mansoor Ijaz, who vows to appear before the judicial commission yet again, even though he has made no concrete move to actualise his commitment, gets a headline. A news item like this, which is nothing but speculation and rhetoric, is usually given a prominent spot in most newspapers.

The news about the course of action advised by the coalition partners to the PPP government is one of the most prominently displayed ones, yet it is full of platitudes. The news about the army’s silence and how it is worrisome for the movers and shakers in Islamabad, is nothing but speculation. Similarly, the news about Altaf Husain talking to the Taliban and Imran Khan talking to all but the PML-N is mere political posturing.

The electronic media is worse and the events of the past couple of days are a good example of the fact that large segments of it seem to thrive only on sensationalism. Many anchors were willing to suffer coronaries and brain aneurysms to make their point. Some were so eager to ensure that they appear most earnest; they risked combustion by passionate rhetoric, if that’s possible. Dr Goebbels used propaganda as a war tool in Nazi Germany and he was quite successful in it. We, it appears, live in the age of rumours where it is used as a tool of political manoeuvring.

Similarly, the media’s news gathering is limited to a few big cities. A bomb blast in Lahore or rioting in Karachi gets maximum coverage and stays in the news for far longer than a blast in Charsadda and brutal massacre of government officials in Turbat. The lack of voices from Balochistan in the electronic media is unfair, if not criminal.

Those who sing praises of a free media should pause and ponder if the media is really doing what it is supposed to do? Does it give all the players equal opportunities to present their case? Does it posit the same pointing questions to all the players — political and apolitical — or does it do the bidding of a select group? Only this week, we have seen one TV anchor or the other championing coup, but were there any dissenting voices? If the honour of the armed forces cannot be questioned then why are we subjecting our elected representative to the repeated shame and humiliation? If the institution of judiciary is above any scrutiny — as presented by the media — then why not parliament?

Amidst all the rumours, rhetoric, conjecture, gossip, posturing and speculation, the real news gets lost somewhere. There are so many news worthy items that never get airtime because the media is busy peddling inanities.
First published in The Express Tribune.

Because jumping the ship is en vogue

In an innovative move yesterday, PPP co-chair and President of Pakistan Mr Asif Ali Zardari announced that he is switching parties and has now joined Mr Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf.

While the general public is baffled and speculators are speculating about the probable reasons behind this unprecedented move – no party chair has ever voluntarily vacated his position and decided to move to another party as a junior member – this scribe managed a few precious quotes from the erstwhile PPP co-chair, who at the time of the interview was vacationing in Scotland with his children.

When President Zardari was told that his move to PTI is being viewed with suspicion, he was astounded. “I don’t know why there is such a brouhaha over my membership in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, it is but natural that Imran and I should come together. We have so much in common we could practically be BFFs, like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.” When asked to elaborate, he pointed out that both he and Khan had lived it up in their youth, unlike some other politicians who spent their younger days politicking and working on their public personas. “We are two single dudes whose children live away from home; we get lonely in the evenings and can now keep each other company, watch Capital Talk together and mock Hamid Mir’s hair, mustache and sartorial choices. Besides, both of us were astute enough to marry way above our station.”

When asked about the future of Pakistan People’s Party, Mr Zardari said that the party was left to Bilawal by his mother; Mr Zardari himself was just the caretaker waiting for Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to grow up and take over the reins. “Now that Bilawal and Aseefa are all grown up and geared to go, I have to step aside and let them take the lead, that’s what any good father would do,” said the president.

PTI chairman Imran Khan, also vacationing in the United Kingdom with his children, welcomed Mr. Zardari’s move to his party and said that Mr Zardari’s modesty is the perfect foil for his posturing. “I can point fingers and accuse every one of all kinds of misdeeds,” said Mr Khan, “and Mr. Zardari will go and placate everyone afterwards.” When asked whether or not Zardari’s inclusion in his party goes against the PTI rhetoric – such as the stance against hereditary politics – Khan said that no member of Zardari’s clan has ever been part of PTI; Zardari is the first person to have joined the party. “As his children hold key positions in a rival party, chances of them jumping in are slim,” Imran Khan added.

While both the leaders appear to be at peace with each other, naysayers are pointing out that Mr. Zardari had no intention of joining PTI, but a recent attack by NATO forces on Bilawal House made him change his mind. He would have let it go as collateral damage in the Global War Against Terror, but he changed his mind when he found out that Secretary Clinton had denied any knowledge of the existence of either Bilawal Bhutto Zardari or Bilawal House.

While Imran Khan seems happy with the stag-party-in-progress, another former jiyala (who was also a member of General Zia’s Majlis-e-Shura) does not seem too happy with the development. Shah Mehmood Qureshi thought he would be the only jiyala to cross over party lines and believes Mr Zardari will spoil his camaraderie with Mr. Khan.

“I thought it would be a party of good-looking men only,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi said. “Granted that Mr Zardari’s new teeth have made his smile the brightest one in Pakistan, but he still has to catch up with me when it comes to being called a good-looking man.” When it was pointed out to the former foreign minister that his party is not limited to good looking men – it has Shireen Mizari in a senior position – he declined to comment. Sources close to Mr. Qureshi later said that he was shocked when he found out that Shireen Mizari was not a good looking man.


First published in The Friday Times  

PS: Before anyone lynches me, let me point out that it is a spoof and Mr. President is still very much a jiyala.
Dec 26, 2011 - PTI, religion, women    13 Comments

Peddling obscurantism

In  Shahzeb Khanzada’s programon Express News Imran Khan, in response to a question raised by a young woman, said that if his party forms the government, they will not dictate how women should dress up. When I saw that I was quite pleasantly surprised because back in 1990s when Imran Khan discovered religion, his first op-ed for The News/Jang was on the importance of “Chador and Chardeewari.” He was all about how important pardah and the four walls of the house are for a woman and praised women who chose to stay at home to raise their children, away from the eyes of others.  Now that Imran Khan refused to concern himself with women’s clothing options, I thought he is finally maturing into a politician who cannot be bothered with the non issues. 
But somebody was not happy with this development and that somebody was Ansar Abbasi. In his columntoday, he questioned Imran’s pronouncement asking how a follower of Allama Iqbal and God fearing believer of faith can say something as outrageous as that: giving women option to choose what they want to wear!  If God and his prophet have restricted women’s clothing to a certain standard then how a mard-e-momin like Imran Khan can question that restriction. If Ansar Abbasi is to be believed that the code of an Islamic welfare state is hidden in a woman’s blouse.

Ansar Abbasi questions if the change Imran Khan talks about is Ata Turk and Musharraf inspired or a true Islamic change and wants Imran Khan to explain his stance on women’s clothing. In a country where half the population is malnourished and 70% do not have access to clean drinking water and sanitation where law and order is in a shambles, our very senior reporter/defender of faith is worried about the length and breadth of the dupatta of our ladies. 

Ansar Abbasi was so perturbed by this new aspect of Imran Khan’s personality that he went up to him on Sunday and said that enlightened people like Veena Malik would be very happy with this new Imran Khan. According to Ansar Abbasi, Imran Khan responded that people like Veena cannot do much in Pakistan and the country will never have any law against Quran and Sunnah. 
When I read this piece, I wanted to die – literally die. Forget the obscurantist rant, I cannot get over the fact that the chief investigative reporter of an English daily does not know what the word enlightened means and uses it in context with actresses known for their risqué wardrobe! People like Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Spinoza must be turning in their graves with such liberal use of the term “enlightened.” If I am not wrong, Pakistan perhaps is the only country in the world where being enlightened is considered a stigma and a matter of disgrace. Not that I expect much from Imran Khan, but if people like Ansar Abbasi keep peddling the pedantic agenda, we cannot even hope for gradual maturity that comes with being part of the mainstream politics. 
Here is to staying in the darkness. 
Those who can read Urdu should check out this gem 

Oct 7, 2011 - Punjab    15 Comments

And the propaganda lives on

Who said propaganda died with Dr Goebbels?
This is one picture that is doing rounds on social networking websites these days. The premise of the photograph  is that Mian Nawaz Shareef is meeting Dengue victims with a mask on his face while Imran Khan – the sher jawan of Pakistan (at 59 with wrinkles to match those on Mick Jagger’s face, he is anything but sher jawan) is this fearless man who is meeting common people without security or either the armoured guards or a mask. 
Now we all know that Mian sahib is not the most awami leader in Pakistan but then we are all in the know that Khan Sahib too does not suffer aam janta or dissenting voice all that gladly. Looks like Pujnab will be the fiercest battle ground in next elections. The establishment’s PR machinery is hard at work in establishing Imran Khan as the messiah who will deliver; no one seems to care as to what will be delivered by the erstwhile Kaptaan at this point in time.
Sep 27, 2011 - rant, religion    17 Comments

Imran Khan’s spiritual experiences and my nani’s psychic abilities

Though I have no intention of either buying or reading Imran Khan’s book “Pakistan – A personal History” the translated excerpts published in the Sunday Magzine of Daily Express are pure gold and a highly recommended read (could not find the link despite looking for ages – their website is a total nightmare btw). Among other godlike protestations of greatness from the book, Express carried a boxed piece titled “Roohani Tajurbat” which details Imran Khan’s spiritual experiences.
As Imran Khan was uber awesome at everything, he was an early starter in experimenting with spiritual experiences as well and has had his very first spiritual experience at age 14 – and no, I am not talking about that kind of experiences. Khan saab recalls that he was going through a period of doubt when his mother’s pirni paid them a visit.  Imran Khan did not finish the requisite Nazra Quran lessons (every Muslim child must finish Quran at least once under the guidance of a quran teacher who can teach them how to recite Quran in Arabic). Although most Muslims can read and recite Quran, they cannot understand the language, but I digress. Anyways, the pirini ji who had not even looked at Khan – she observed purdah with a 14 year old boy as well – told Khan’s mother that her child has not finished his nazra lessons. The pirni ji, who did not trust the 14 year old Khan enough to not observe purdah with him, then told his mother that she should not worry about it. According to the aforementioned pirni ji, even though Khan was adept at lying to his parents at the ripe old age of 14 (he not only lied about finishing the recitation lessons of Quran, he even got the man of God – the Nazra teacher to lie on his behalf), he still is a “naik rooh” (pure soul) and will eventually turn out to be a great guy (if Pirni ji was that great a psychic, she should have known what a ‘legen – wait for it – dary’ play boy this naik rooh turned out to be, but I digress again).
This is not the only “spiritual” incident the excerpts in Express’ Sunday Magazine carried. Everyone he had met only predicted greatness and more greatness for the great Immy K. Let me reiterate that I have not read the book but if the excerpts are anything to go by, I wonder why any sane person would ever want to spend their hard earned money on narcissist ranting of a man who is probably sad and lonely and was probably high as a kite when he wrote that book.
My dear departed nani made similar predictions about me, but do I ever take them seriously – only when I am high on cough syrup. Do I plan to write them all in an autobiography, hell no. But then, I am an ordinary person who sadly has no illusions of grandeur, either about herself or her Nani’s psychic abilities.
As I could not find the link, I decided to take a picture of the said piece
Oh and before I sign off, let me just say this. Roohani tajurbat, my %&^(*@#*&!
Nov 22, 2010 - religion    17 Comments

The not so curious case of a chaotic and confused mind

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What would we do without the paragon of virtue, Qibla Mufti-e-Azam Hazrat Maulana Ansar Abbasi sahib – the upholder of morality of millions of Pakistanis, the mainstay of the sanctity of the family values of misguided Pakistanis and the defender of the piety of all the citizens?

Because he has an opinion on everything under the sun and his expertise ranges from Kerry Lugar Bill to NRO to Baloach dissent to Altaf Bhai’s embroidered kurtas, it is but natural that he would also dabble in some fashion journalism. But because he does not do it like other run of the mill journos, he would just not report on fashion, nor would he write an investigative report on it, he would comment on the recent fashion week with quotes from Quran and try and tell us how high fashion impacts the mating habits of millions of Pakistanis.

Ansar Abbasi started off with how scantily clad women on the catwalks of the fashion week will adversely impact on the family values and somehow linked it to people living in sin and how children will not know who their fathers are. With all due respect, I would like to ask Ansar Abbasi if he lives in the same country as we do. Who in their right mind would prefer cohabitation over marriage with Hudood ordinance looming over their heads? He lamented Western depravity where men and women live together outside holy matrimony and procreate and then was outraged that men can get married to other men and women can get married to other women. I mean stick to your guns Abbasi sahib, you can either be pro marriage or against it, you can’t change your stance in the middle of the sentence, can you?

According to A-Dawg (I rechristen him after this definition of T Dawg which kinda fits him to T), fashion weeks (with an audience of perhaps 0.001% of the population) have made Pakistan more obscene and vulgar than countries like USA or India (this is not what I think butthese countries are torchbearers of vulgarity in A-Dawg’s opinion). He is not too happy with the likes of Imran Khan, Syed Munawar Hasan, Nawaz Shareef, Chaudhry Nisar and Fazlur Rehman for not protesting against the fashion weeks and wanted the Chief Justice to take suo moto action against it.

When A-Dawg could not make sense out of the collective silence of the resident right wing politicians, he picked on the average citizens of the city of Karachi (the venue of the fashion week) for not coming out on streets to protest against it. Most of the poor Karachiites do not even know when such events take place, they are too busy commuting from this end of the city to the other, attending a million and one weddings (which totally rubbishes his theory of people living in sin) and dodging the stray bullets meant for political targets but A-Dawg is too angry about the obscenity to care.

Café Pyala has a posted a pretty decent translation of his column (if it can be called that) but I suggest that those who can read Urdu must read it in its original glory. The number of times A-Dawg has used the words ‘uryaniyat’, ‘fuhashi’, ‘behayaee’, ‘belibasi’, ‘behudgee’ (variations of obscenity, vulgarity and nudity) reflects the piety of his thoughts, Mashallah!

Mar 9, 2010 - rant, sarcasm    39 Comments

Twitter, Imran Khan and Aafia

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Twitter is amazing, not only it brings together people from all across the world, but any two or three people can randomly jump in to a conversation and can have a whale of a time together. If you are lucky, you can annoy other people to hell and have fun at their expense (some may call it trolling, but if you do not tag them, I would not call it that). It all gets funnier if the people you make fun of are Z list celebrities who probably google their names every 15 minutes (or more often).

Another friend on twitter and I have had doubts about a Jemima Khan profile on twitter (that was way before she got the blue tick) and we were not sure if it was a genuine account or not. So in a conversation last night we wondered if it was a fake Jemima Khan account or a genuine one. Apparently she saw that, got pissed and in order to prove that she is the real McCoy she scanned her passport with all the details and put it up on twitter! I mean I know she is a blonde and not particularly bright (she married Imran Khan for heaven’s sake) but who puts up their passport on a public twitter account which is open for all?

As if that was not enough drama, some desi men with fantasies of skinny blonde British women falling for them jumped in acting like knights in shining armor advising Jemima to remove her passport details. She then put up another photo of her passport – minus the details – on twitter (she has later removed them both but a pal from across the border saved that passport photo & emailed it to me). I mean what were those gentlemen thinking, she has had her fill of Desi men, she is not gonna fall for another one. One desi dude in one lifetime was enough, dontcha think?

Anyways, that got me started along with two other tweeters, Naheed and Mirza on all things Jemima and her erstwhile husband. Mirza shared that in another century, Liz Hurley and Imran Khan had dated. The made me recall that in the same century, Liz Hurley and Hugh grant also dated and then Imran Khan got married to Jemima and then Jemima dated Hugh Grant and now perhaps Imran Khan is dating the whole Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan which makes it kinda really kinky circle. Mirza then suggested that maybe it’s time Imran Khan and Hugh Grant should get up close and personal. In any case, Jemima has beaten Mr. Khan when it comes to getting intimate with famous people of the same sex – remember the lip lock between Kate Moss and Jemima (it generates 183,000 links if you google it – in case anyone wanted to know that).

By that time, Jemima Khan got really angry and gave me two names; twalker (that’s twitter stalker) and tweak (twitter freak). Now I am all game for name calling but they have to be smart and inventive. If only Ms Goldsmith had actually spent some time in college in her younger days instead of playing house with an aging Lothario, she would have known that tweak is actually a proper English word found in all major English language dictionaries. Her exact tweet was something like this: “What a relief to discover you can block the tweaks (twitter freaks). I’m banishing dissidents like a despot.” Even the statement was kind of a let down. After writing ‘expert’ articles on democracy in Pakistan in esteemed publications like Vogue and Harper’s, I never expected such naked despotic glee from Ms Goldsmith.

We decided to let go of Ms Goldsmith and stick to her former and far juicier half. Naheed asked us if Imran Khan has remarried and then started listing the names of all the women Imran Khan has ever been with but I suggested that we need to leave that alone. After all, if one starts listing all of Imran Khan’s conquests, 140 characters wouldn’t be able to do him any justice. That man has been very very busy for most of his adult life and he is in now in his late 50s.

As far as Imran’s second round at nuptials is concerned, I have a feeling he will do a complete turnaround. In the past, much to chagrin of all the aunties (who were not really aunties back then) he had almost exclusively dated foreigners. Now, in his new Maseeha-e-Islam avatar, he will only take the plunge when ‘Qaum ki Beti’ Aafia Siddiqui returns. Imagine a wedding invite that says ‘Imran Khan weds Aafia Siddiqui’, would it not be a Jamat-e-Islami and Talibaan wet dream? If Ms Siddiqui agrees to marry Imran Khan, then nothing can stop him from becoming the most powerful man in Pakistan.

Naheed disagreed with me. She believes that Aafia Siddiqui will sell Imran Khan at the juma bazaar for a bucketful of ammonium nitrate, which got me thinking. Ms. Siddiqui is a paak baaz Muslim woman, she will probably not agree to a union with a former play boy who has been with MTV VJs (tauba tauba haram). In any case, if the choice of her last husband, Ammar al-Baluchi, a nephew of the 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and ten years her junior, is any indication of her taste, she is into young Jihadist boy toys, not old Romeos like Imran Khan.

PS: I still have Jemima’s passport shot with me but I chose not to publish it, for obvious reasons.

Oct 30, 2009 - religion, USA    22 Comments

Pakistan and US: the unholy matrimony? *

Pakistanis in general and Jamat-i-Islami in particular, have always had a problem or two with USA and its meddling ways in Pakistan. Whether it is linking the terror strikes in USA to Pakistan’s tribal belt (which was proved yesterday when passport of one of the terrorists involved in 9/11 – a member of Hamburg cell – was found by Pakistan armed forces in South Waziristan – detailed reports can be found here and here) or the infamous Kerry Lugar Bill and reigning in of military establishment through it, Pakistanis bemoan the US presence and its wily ways in every development.
While reading today’s newspapers, I noticed that Pakistan is not far behind as far meddling in US affairs is concerned. Not only do we meddle with impunity, we also whine a lot and beg for assistance without shame. For instance, during the meeting with Prime Minister Gilani Secretary Clinton apparently called him a ‘magician’ (the jury is still out whether it was a compliment or an insult). All PM Gilani could do in response to being called a master of political wizardry was request for stepping up support for financial problems, the early payments of the dues out of the accounts of terrorism compensation funds and the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
I fail to understand why Pakistanis in general and Jamat-i-Islami and Imran Khan in particular are so hung up on the release of Aafia Siuddiqui. What irritates me even more is that she is called “Quam ki beti” (Daughter of the nation) when she is not even holding a Pakistani passport. She is an American citizen who was found involved in activities against her country and US has every right to try one of their own citizens, but Pakistanis must not only meddle, they must also do it at the top of their lungs. Perhaps Imran Khan and Jamat-i-Islami call her Qaum ki beti for being involved in money transfers for Al Qaida and endangering the life of her under age children by exposing them to terrorists in Afghanistan when they could have stayed with their father in a much more secure environment in Karachi?
Do we hear American government whine like we do? No, we don’t. During her recent trip to Pakistan, all we got from Secretary Clinton were some bitter home truths. She showed annoyance with Pakistani officials’ inability to nab the Al-Qaida top brass. ‘I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn’t get them if they really wanted to,’ she added.
She also criticized Pakistanis for slamming the non military aid bill and said that Pakistanis do not pay taxes and raise funds locally to invest in public services, health and education and when someone else does, they create ruckus. She also pointed out that the percentage of taxes on GDP in Pakistan is among the lowest in the world.
She also expressed concern about Pakistan’s huge population – 180 million people and counting – and said that unless Pakistani government starts planning for this challenge, the projected 300 million populations will need the resources that no one will be able to assist them with.
While we are meddling in US affairs by asking for the release of a shady character like Aafia Siddiqui, the US Secretary has uncovered some home truths for us. Unless we tackle all these issues and more, everyone with 5$ to spare will come and tell us what to do and we will have to oblige them. The thing is, we have proved, time and again, that we need someone to keep us in line and that we cannot manage to take care of the business of running a state. Pakistani elite desperately want US to meddle so that they can blame the chaos on someone else. Its been 38 years’ since Bangladesh cessation, but I still hear some Pakistanis who lament the fact that US marine did not arrive when we needed its help most, all the hue and cry is only for public consumption.
* Secretary Clinton likened relations between Pakistan and US to a tumultuous marriage but she was also at pains to point out that the US does not want a divorce.
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Feb 20, 2009 - published work    33 Comments

All in the family

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.

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