The tune is the same and I have been harping on this one for a long time. Things don’t exactly change no matter how many words my kind type, those who believe that something is very, very wrong with the country. Like many others, I too have been walking the tightrope across this abyss of pessimism with an equally horrid fall of our reality.

This may seem a tad too dramatic, but is it really?

Hamza Ali Abbasi, our self-confessed and self-emphasised intellectual, continues to gather an increasing fan following. Back in the day, the red-hatted Zaid Hamid too got the same momentum but his popularity slithered away after the infamous inqilab attempt. It is common knowledge that one can understand the social psychology of a society by analysing the heroes they chose. Back then, as is today, the mantra that appeased the masses was destruction of India. However, then, the rhetoric of emotionalism alone could do the work. Now, as we move onto the digital age, the crowd too seems to be leaning towards a new breed of intellectuals as heroes. Thus, comes in Hamza Ali Abbasi. The man, in his past, became a police officer after having passed the CSS examinations. He then left his job for a career in media. He wooed the nation with his portrayals in numerous TV dramas and then he stepped into politics by becoming a diehard PTI-ian. Things went downhill there and then. And yet, the momentum of his popularity never faded away. If anything, it only grew. It grew because he is a unique combination, a mesh we see in the leader he follows. He looks good and he sounds good. For a country that has long been obsessed with materialism, this combination has proven to be perfect. Beyond that, anything that comes forth holds a special meaning in the minds. It retains well even amidst minds that are supposedly swimming in knowledge as well. Hence, we see the man popular amongst young men and women who are, otherwise, well ‘educated’.

Imran Khan called the international cricketers in PSL “phateecher”. There is a different level of ego attached to the great Khan, one that escapes the grasp and understanding of the common person such as this author. This ego seems to be fueled by the ocean of his supporters who are as confused as he is.

PSL was a success for the country and there cannot be any other opinion on that, and yet the great Khan thinks otherwise. He has no way to prove this claim though, that the event was a failure. He was reluctant to see it as something worthy of appreciation even before the final took place in Lahore. He insisted that the foreign players should not come. When players came and gave the country one of the best showdowns it has witnessed in years, he insisted they were “phateecher” players, and those that matter are solely the ones who did not come to Pakistan in the first place.

Such remarks felt wrong and yet, as we saw a rush of emotions bursting at this bizarre claim, many of them from within the PTI itself, there was one person who stood anchored where he was: Hamza Ali Abbasi. He took upon himself to guide those who were ‘astray’ and to bring them back into the holy grounds of constant worship of the great Khan. The video is laced with pseudo-intellectualism and grunts and gaps meant to hide what the obvious uncritical hero worship. He insists he says what he says as a neutral person, when time and time again our hopes of his neutrality have been proven wrong. He given forth the same lame argument that Trump gave over his remarks about women, that it was ‘locker talk’, by insisting that we all can say what we want so long as it is a casual gathering. And then he blasted the journalist for spreading the video, who had insisted that there were no rules in the setting on video making and taking pictures.

The man, the great intellectual that he is, used the lesser evil argument that people like him and those who compare Malala’s popularity to Dr. Aafia Sadiqui have been using. All in all, his rant insists that the man, because of his past, must be given all the leverage in the world. Of course, in any serious society, such excuses would fall on deaf ears. But we are not serious, or ration here it seems. Abbasi’s ‘rationale’ has been used by many of the PTI devotees I’ve come across. They continue to use his exact words taking them as the sole truth. These individuals I speak off take themselves as intellectuals as well.

Once upon a time, not quite many years ago, Pakistan bred the likes of Ardeshir Cowasjee and Tariq Ali as intellectuals. Those were old times. Such will not happen in the Pakistan of today. Not when we consider the likes of Hamza Ali Abbasi as our heroes.