One is at a loss to get the psychology of the boss. While the whole country is mired in a multitude of miseries, the good President is talking high of the upcoming elections, priding himself on his political allies, condemning his foes, presenting a pleasant picture of the economy and, above all, scheduling a breed of foreign visits, previously unheard of.

He couldn’t be blamed, one guesses. The problems, faced by the common man - among them, unscheduled and interminable power outages, gas loadshedding, unprecedented hike in fuel prices and with it of every household item, rampant poverty, unemployment and volatile security situation - are something, which he might only be reading about in the papers, or watching on news channels at most. That is to say, he does not have a first-hand experience, like the one, the man on the street has.

The latest diatribe that he used against his major political rivals in the Governor House in Lahore on April 4 is something extraordinary. As usual, it was a mix of infantile and naïve raving. There was nothing that smacked of political sagacity and wisdom or that behoved the head of a state. But then, who cares. This is the land of the pure. Pure hypocrites, that is to say.

Let’s have a look at some of the major points of his speech. “Lahore is the hub of Pakistan Peoples Party and the Sharif brothers are refugees in themselves,” he said. Personally, this was a revelation to me: Sharif brothers being the muhajir. One instant question that popped up into my mind was: why the PML-N would be at loggerheads with their ancestral allies, i.e. the MQM. They have also migrated from India, after all, but unlike the PML-N, they are PPP’s allies. Politics, they call it!

“We will give such unprecedented relief to the public in the next budget that they will forget all their sorrows,” he joked next. This was the funniest of all! And a bit ruthless, too! Just the other day, the fuel prices were increased to such levels that are in itself unprecedented and all-time high. There will, indeed, be a new wave of inflation and the people will inexorably suffer more. Not to mention a steady rise in the electricity, gas and other utility bills. But then again, who cares?

“The lustre the Sharif brothers enjoy has been bestowed on them by me and I can take it away at my own will,” he said further. Well, there is no question about that. Political pundits have been talking about that for so long now. The PPP and PML-N are two veritable brothers in arms and everyone knows about it. Even the Charter of Democracy is a testament to that: changing seats turn by turn; something two kids would do when they share a single bike.

Another joke that he cracked was that his government will end power outages in the country in the next three months. Mark the word next. It is more like one reads a common sticker in shops – ‘borrowing is prohibited today’. Everyone reads the note and thinks tomorrow never arrives. When Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was made the Federal Minister for Water and Power, his very first statement also sounded like that - “we will end loadshedding by December.” Three Decembers passed since then; he resigned from his portfolio and is facing serious corruption charges now, and the problem has grown to herculean proportions with each passing year, nay, each passing day. Witness, the recent fiery protests in Lahore. The summer is yet to come. Hot season, they say, both politically and environmentally. Let’s see|!

The President was scheduled to visit the shrine of 12th century saint, Khawaja Moinuddin Chishti, in Ajmer, India. The visit was dubbed as a private one. It is, perhaps, the very first of its kind. Was it a political move or really something personal, one is not sure. Our leaders are just so wont of visiting foreign countries for personal reasons. Dubai, USA and the UK are more like their second homes. The excuse for a medical check-up is only a smokescreen. Everyone knows they need to oversee their foreign businesses.

It just is so ironic. Other heads of state visit foreign countries to boost their national interest, economic ties, trade, bilateral relations, etc and ours - their personal interests. If someone carries out a wee bit research, he/she will find out that our top two political stalwarts visited foreign lands more for personal pursuits than for national interest. The leader of the third political power is so prudently based in a foreign land. No wonder then, the port city has been passing through nightmares for so long now.

Coming back to the topic, the practice and tradition to visit the mausoleums of sufi saints is well entrenched in our society and people usually go there when they face some dire problem. For instance, when people are possessed by a devil and are suffering from recurrent episodes of epilepsy, they would visit a shrine, pray for themselves and ask forgiveness. Now of course, our President does not suffer from any such ailment. If he did, we must have heard of some pandemonium in the President House.

Secondly, when people have no children, they would visit a shrine and pray for it. This also is out of question. There are, by the grace of Almighty, three beautiful kids of the President.

Thirdly, when there is some hurdle in one’s marriage, one would consult a sufi saint and pray for it. One is not sure if that is the case with the good guy. But then, it was a personal visit. Who knows?

Lastly, it might be that he is asking the guidance of Khawaja Gharib Nawaz, for solving the problems of the country. That is possible! As, apparently, there seems no solution at all to the hordes of issues our poor nation faces.

n    The writer is a freelance columnist.