Just when one has about forgotten or overlooked his previous comical foibles ala “pardey mai rehney do” etc, Altaf Bhai springs another one on us. The latest shocker is about how it is OK to be a dual national because Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah also had a passport, which said he was a British national when the document was made in 1946 and which was valid for five years after that. (The teeny fact that the Indian subcontinent was under the British Raj at that time seems to have slipped his mind.)

Now to throw this line of argument at us, just to defend his own stance of being a British national, is not going to do anything for him. In fact, he has opened himself to unnecessary ridicule. There are just too many recorded incidents of Mr Jinnah’s unbending and uncompromising stance with the British for there to be any need to defend him anew in January 2013. There are many incidents also of the Quaid’s beautiful and vivacious wife, Ruttie Jinnah, refusing to be cowed down by the all-powerful representatives of the British Raj back then. Whatever history lesson Altaf Hussain was trying to give us makes no sense at all. The unkindest cut, to my mind, is the pairing of himself with Quaid-i-Azam!

As much as one likes the educated and urbanised representatives of the MQM like Haider Abbas Rizvi and others, one wonders why they cannot prevail on the head of their party to go easy on the gimmickry. One can almost see them squirming in their seats with discomfort when these self-obsessive sermons are being made to an MQM audience - and in this case to the whole nation - as we were all held hostage by his address on all our channels, waiting as it were, for the illusive drone!

It, probably, was the biggest example of a drone misfiring and falling flat on its nose. (The guys who make drones could possibly consider suing Altaf Bhai for bringing such disrepute to their product with this misnomer - but that’s a thought in passing.) However, we could not agree more to the song he chose to sing this time for his captive audience “hum sa ho tau saamney ayie.” There cannot possibly be two of them in this world. One is also reminded of the British comedy on TV called “Some mothers do have them”.

As the D-day of January 14 approaches and Dr Tahirul Qadri remains adamant about his democratic right of leading a million march on to the capital, some things become clearer. It has become evident that nobody but nobody has any definite answers to what’s going to happen.

Everybody is going by their gut feeling and choosing only to believe what they wish would happen. Confusion reigns maximum and no chirya, tota or maina has been able to make the correct prediction. It is all pure conjecture. Never before have so many feathers been ruffled with so many different opinions on why this is happening - from one extreme of the pendulum to another.

The favourite theory that the army is behind this to delay the electoral process and install a technocrat caretaker government of their own choice has many holes in it too. The past few days have shown that the military is really overstretched, combating enemies within and without and the current time just does not allow them the luxury of such thoughts.

In fact, the statement issued by the ISPR after the Corps Commanders meeting saying that we are at war with an enemy within was an acknowledgement long overdue. The army would prefer to have elected politicians in place and at the front who would do good by the country too.

The long lines for fuel continue unabated as does the winter chill and the shortages of gas and electricity. It is all these lack of basic requirements that will get people out to do Tahirul Qadri’s bidding. It is about the message and not the messenger. There are people desperately digging out whatever contradictions exist in the doctor’s track records to belittle him with the idea of stalling him and his march - but they are forgetting that the all important issue in this particular case is not about him - it is about his message. No amount of fondness for tamashbeeni can draw people out in droves if they did not believe that we need a change in the calibre of those who contest elections, ask people for votes and then go glibly on to improve the lives of only their own inner circle, with no time for the common man.

There is also a general consensus that the change we are looking for must come through the ballot and that the elections must not be derailed or delayed. I personally think that the good that Dr Qadri’s million march has done already is that it has raised awareness levels and caused people to seriously reconsider their options during the elections if they wish to change their circumstances. And I also think the advantage for this sudden surge in wanting a change will go to Imran Khan and PTI if the elections are held on schedule.

Postscript: After the Supreme Court’s notice, some of the accused culprits involved in the murder of Shahzeb, an innocent 20-year old boy in Karachi, have been caught in the span of a few days only and justice, it appears, will take its course - Allah be praised. There was also the breaking news this week of the arrest of Tauqeer Sadiq, who had set the country back by uncountable millions as Chairman OGRA and had managed to flee abroad, but later the FIA said it had no information about his arrest. There continue to be snippets like that of the Prime Minister’s son-in-law making it to a cushy appointment in World Bank in Washington DC. Damaads are damaads after all and better to have them in cushy positions abroad than to have them in your laps ala Captain Safdar!

The writer is a public relations and event management professional based in Islamabad.

Email: tallatazim@yahoo.com

Twitter: @tallatazim.