When Jamshed Dasti speaks, everyone sits up and takes notice. So when he said that there were rare goings-on at the Parliament Lodges, complete with dance parties, the good stuff and the good-time girls, everyone took notice. Everyone already knew that MNAs were up to no good, and now everyone has been told that not only our parliamentarians uneducated, but they also engage in shenanigans of awesome proportions.

One wonders whether the graduation clause applies to those parties at the Parliament Lodges. If so, then Jamshed Dasti might feel deprived. We all remember him as the MNA from Muzaffargarh district who was unseated because, well, he wasn’t a graduate; but who was awarded the PPP ticket for the by-election. He could contest because the 18th Amendment, allowing undergraduates to be MNAs, had been passed. He won. And he won again in last year’s general election, showing that the fine upstanding electors of his constituency didn’t mind his not having a piece of paper.

I assume that Dasti has not been kept out of the dance parties. You know, some taciturn, looming presence at the door of Parliament Lodges, who speaks only to demand degrees, and Dasti turning away in frustration. One assumes that sour grapes are not behind his statement. And you know what they make with grapes, don’t you?

Besides, one hopes that the door-keepers of the party-throwers paid due attention to the exalted status of the guests: MNAs. People who are supposed to make laws. I assume that the posse of lady MNAs, elected on reserved seats would be happy, because they could keep an eye on husbands accompanying them, and thus staying at Parliament Lodges. But isn’t one of the advantages of being MNAs from rural constituencies, going to the capital to attend sessions, and then spending the night at a dance party? And if these MNAs can’t break the law, then who can?

Any military man who can make his way into the AFIC, perhaps. I wonder if Pervez Musharraf could get into one of the parties Dasti talked about? The late Tikka Khan swinging a dashed efficient shoe at Benazir Bhutto’s mehndi, remember, showing that former COAS could dance too. And remember, Tikka was not a commando. So he didn’t balance a glass on his head. It’s funny that one should remember Tikka along with Musharraf. Admittedly both were gunners who became COAS, but Tikka has passed away, as has Benazir. True, Musharraf is still with us, as is Benazir’s husband.

Speaking of former COASes, I suppose we should keep the Army in mind. The operation has not been launched, according to the Prime Minister, which makes one wonder how their leaders would respond to being invited to gate-crash the dance parties at Parliament Lodges. However, can they get in if they are not graduates? By the way, Dasti’s account probably accounts for why so many MNAs claim they hear better with their eyes closed. They are the ones who are woken up when the session is adjourned for the day.

So while the personal example of Jamshed Dasti had exposed parliamentarians as non-graduates, and thus probably barely literate, his latest sally has shown them to be louts as well, who do not look forward to sessions as opportunities to make the laws of the country, but to be the life of a dance party. But perhaps they have the excuse of foreign nationality, Foreigners like Rehman Malik are notorious partygoers. One can almost hear a veteran parliamentarian telling a newcomer that they don’t have parties like they used to, and one hasn’t lived until he has seen Rehman Malik doing the twist. Or is it Ch Nisar Ali doing the samba?

But Ch Nisar, first elected in 1985, and constantly elected ever since, is probably the right person to ask about dance parties, though, as a Pindiwal, he probably doesn’t have a suite in Parliament Lodges. However, in all these decades, surely he received an invitation? Well, whether he received an invitation or not, he was busy rolling out the national security policy of the present government. One wonders if the policy presentation was celebrated by a particularly raucous party, and it was the disturbance to his beauty sleep that led Jamshed Dasti, whose morning jogs are legendary, to make his complaint.

Also, one wonders if the Taliban would relent if invited to one of Jamshed Dasti’s parties. Maybe all that really happens is that everyone sits around eating wafer-thin sandwiches and drinking tea (the cup that cheers but does not inebriate) with pinky lifted, discussing the weather, which has become rainy now that winter is giving way to spring. But if so, then the Taliban should know that Jamshed Dasti is to blame for all those stories of wild goings-on and unlimited revelry.

Or maybe we could invite the poor Bangladesh team, which has been beaten by Afghanistan. That should be seen as an ISI victory, for the ISI is supposed to be involved in Afghanistan, but was betrayed in Bagladesh in 1971. And a Zadran was a member of the Afghan team. Jalaluddin Haqqani, still the head of the Network, is a Zadran.