A double celebration is just past, and Pakistanis have always joined Christians in celebrating Christmas, because since 1876, it’s also been Quaid Day, being the birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation.
Of course, there are more Christians worldwide celebrating it merely as Christmas than Pakistani Christians doing a double celebration, but apart from Pakistani Christians, who would be a goodly number, about nine million even if they are only five percent of the population, which is about 160 million, Christians celebrate December 25 as Christmas, as the birthday of Jesus Christ. And the non-Christian Pakistanis celebrate the Quaid’s birthday.
The coincidence of the birthdays should not blind us to the fact that the people who started the War on Terror would like us to mark December 25 as they do: the biggest shopping event of the year. But one wonders at the birthday of Mian Nawaz Sharif, the head of a faction of the party the Quaid headed.
However, despite sharing the same birthday, Mian Nawaz cannot measure up to the Quaid. And despite the birthday being the same as Chirst’s, he cannot be the Messiah Christ was. If, unlike Christians, you don’t accept Christ as the Messiah, the saviour sent by the Almighty, or unlike the Jews, you don’t believe that the saviour will come for the Jews, you are still a Pakistani, who will firmly believe that Pakistan’s problems will only be solved by a messiah, and not by the people themselves.
That has been the appeal of military rulers, who all come on a promise of reform, and the reform agenda has been the preserve of all would-be saviours, the latest being Imran Khan, who thinks that skills that helped him captain the national world cup-winning cricket team and build a cancer hospital will enable him to be a good Prime Minister. Imran got a Christmas present in the form of Javed Hashmi, who found himself constricted in the PML(N) of Mian Nawaz Sharif. But saviours aside, before Christmas, the man most in need of good news, and a hefty present, was Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who launched a broadside against the Army.
The underlying theme seems to have been that the government should be forgiven all its sins of omission and commission, because of the threat to democracy from the military. It seems that we are to ignore all protestations from the military to the effect that it has no intention of playing saviour, as well as the state of the country, and rally around the government. The electricity shortage was bad enough, and now the gas shortage means that we can’t cook our food. Well, it seems that preserving democracy means switching to nuts and fruit, I suppose, because the good old saalan is now to be a thing of the past, consigned to the rubbish heap of history, a sacrifice that we the people are making to preserve democracy. Yes, I can see the PPP campaigning on this at the next election: instead of being merely the party which has sacrificed its Chairmen. It has spread sacrifices to the entire people, who have sacrificed cooked food to have Asif Zardari for President.
What, I wonder, is the alternative to being saved? I assume that the blood shed at Salalah has dried, even if the tears of the widows and orphans it created has not even been brushed away, let alone dried. If we are saved, will such blood stop flowing? Well, not if we don’t remember the purpose of the War on Terror: to sacrifice as much Muslim blood as possible. Well, one sacrifice that has been offered up this Christmas has been the Federal Information Minister, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan. It has not been accepted. But there’s no harm announcing it, is there? She was able to pass her recent accident injury as a Minister, and if her resignation had been accepted, she would have stayed in the National Assembly, ready to answer positively any cries of “Is there a doctor in the House?” Now of course, she will keep on ignoring those cries, giving the stricken member a fighting chance of staying alive, as Dr Awan’s medicine has got a little rusty, what with all of that ministering. By the way, the National Assembly and the Senate have medical departments employing doctors, which I think a slur on the professional reputations of members with medical degrees. And some do, just as some didn’t have any degrees at all. I don’t think the President, for example, would call in Dr Awan for treatment of his illness. As a politician, she would like to say that there’s nothing wrong with him, and he’s perfectly Fine. But I wonder what is her professional opinion about what happened to him.
We might have been celebrating, but it’s very cold. Perhaps not cold enough to make water freeze over, but still, I hear there’s ice coming out of the water taps in Quetta. This cold will translate into colds and flus aplenty, as well as a noisome citizenry, because geysers are off. Well, even if they were on, there’s no gas, so one of the aims of the War on Terror is being achieved, making Third World denizens smell bad.
And they’ve started electricity loadshedding again. The light goes, and then comes back on the hour. And there’s no water, to ensure that the brave souls willing to bathe in unheated water, can’t.