The day of the dharna is upon us. The skipper has marshalled his cornered tigers and is preparing to push back, in the face of certain adversity. Leading from the front, he has captained polio drives, championed the cause of hapless drone victims and called attention to massive wrongdoing that was the General Election of 2013, which will widely be remembered by members of the Poor, Trusting Incontinents’ party, as the greatest sham ever perpetrated in the history of democracy since someone in the Roman Senate said, “Hey Brutus, what’s with the dagger?”

To be fair, Imran Khan has delivered a lot of the change he promised in the run up to the general elections. He promised to take a stand against wrongdoing wherever he saw it, and he has followed up with that promise by staging a sit-in in KPK, ostensibly against his own party’s government there. Apparently, hell hath no fury like a Khan scorned. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to anyone that he has once again turned to his top minds to try and get him out of the latest jam he’s gotten himself into. Luckily for him, however, his loyalists include some of the country’s top exponents of dharnadynamics, which, in this day and age, is all you need to win over the hearts and minds of “The Common Man” [capitalized here because it has now become a proper noun]. These common men suffer from an acute affliction of the pituitary gland. This condition renders subjects immune to, among other things, the onset of nausea following a vastly rhetorical and hollow campaign speech. Its symptoms include violent disagreement with differing opinions, a failure to see reason and an irrational belief in the powers of one man.

dharnadynamics, then, is the study of the impact of sit-ins – also popularly known as dharnas in our mother tongue – on the conscience of the powers-that-be. Some of the most pioneering work in the field of dharnadynamics was conducted by Agha Waqar, one famed for having saved the Muslim world with his invention of the Water Kit. Of course, Waqar was ridiculed at the time for claiming that water could feasibly power a vehicular mode of transportation. Unbeknownst to Waqar, a crack(pot) team of scientists allied with the Poor, Trusting Incontinents and led by Dr Evil himself, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, had already begun to weaponize Waqar’s discovery, turning it into a dharadynamic nuclear warhead. This rogue faction of the otherwise harmless PTI was bent upon destroying the world as we know it and replacing it with an alternate reality, one where rivers flowed with milk and Android phone batteries never died. Of course, in normal circumstances, this would be the point where Keifer Sutherland or Captain America would show up, open up a can of whoop ass onto the rogue scientists in question and disable the warhead so that we could all live happily ever after.

But after all, this is Pakistan, the land where even Batman fears to tread. The closest thing we have to a superhero is a geriatric philanthropist who has nothing better to do than help people. His superpowers are so lame, there isn’t a single explosion in the upcoming film about his life. Not even the slightest hint of alien technology. Just a whole lot of illegal aliens.

But dharnadynamics is a complicated science. When Agha Waqar envisioned this new branch of science, hitherto unknown to man, he came up with four laws that governed the universe of sit-ins and violent protest. These included:

The zeroth law of dharnadynamics: If two political parties are in a deadlock, with a third party, both parties will gang up to rig the elections so that the third party has no chance of winning the elections. This helps define the notion of political temperature and the resultant backlash.

The first law of dharnadynamics: The cult of personality is a form of electoral system. Because personal charisma is conserved, all forms of electoral systems are rendered null and void. Equivalently, non-corrupt governance of the first kind is impossible. But there is nothing to stop corrupt politicians of the second order from swelling the ranks of said political party.

Second law of dharnadynamics: Political systems spontaneously evolve towards revolutionary equilibrium. This means that no matter who is running the engines of government, a revolution is inevitable as long as DJ Butt provides the sound system.

There is great dispute around the third law of dharnadynamics: some say it deals with trolls and their proportionality with the amount of rational discourse. Others maintain it deals with the concept of militant wings and thugs. However, since this law was not conceived by Agha Waqar himself and was cooked up by the PTI’s rogue scientists, it does not achieve the generality of the first three laws.

Today marks the greatest test of this groundbreaking science. Will the PTI-secessionists finally be able to detonate their dharnanuclear warhead? Will Javed Hashmi rejoin the Noon League? Will Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s charisma and enunciation save PTI from another embarrassing showing? Stay tuned to your TV sets.

The writer is a former journalist currently working in the development sector.

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