A rickshaw driver who declined passengers so that he could sleep on the back seat after a heavy meal, an aspiring science student who made waves with his discovery of a new online game, a tailor, a journalist, the Sindh government, and cricketer Misbahul Haq are amongst the top contenders in a popular new talent show called Pakistan Idle.

“In these terrible times when the people of Pakistan, from Karachi to Peshawar, are living under fear that the new government might deliver on its promise of creating new jobs, this show has become the voice of the silent majority who does not like to work,” said an employee of Pakistan International Airlines, while talking to reporters. He said the department could significantly cut down its losses if it cancelled all its operations for good.

He is amongst the competitors in the Pakistan Idle reality show, featuring the country’s most relaxed men and women. The trending program is sponsored by the famous lack-of-energy drink Lassi, and has been criticized for its overwhelming coverage of people from Lahore. Civil society representatives from the city planned a mixed marathon against the stereotyping of Lahoris, but the race was cancelled because they were too tired and wanted an afternoon nap. “I have had too much to eat,” one of them told a press conference that failed to attract journalists because he did not offer sandwiches and tea.

Outside the press club, young schoolboys had arranged the burning of an effigy of education activist Malala Yousafzai, who they partly blame for having to go to school every day. The protest was cancelled because they could not wake up on time. “I kept hitting the snooze button until suddenly it was11 am,” one of them divulged to this scribe.  

“You can’t blame us for not working in this dangerous environment,” one reporter said. “There have been some terrorist attacks somewhere and I don’t know if the Taliban have claimed them. Some Al Qaeda leader that I can’t recall the name of was targeted in a drone strike I don’t know how many days ago. I can’t confirm if he died or not. I don’t know where Waziristan is, but I am very scared.”

He admitted he was tired from his day assignment of covering the Lahore Literary Festival. “How were today’s sessions?” this scribe asked him. “I don’t know,” he replied. “You’re a journalist. Why don’t you make something up?”

A Marxist politician who supports the reality show said work was a form of oppression. “Look at what happened when the PTCL was privatized. Thousands of workers, many of them married and with children, were forced to do the work they were paid for. I personally know a linesman who is now forced to fix people’s connections every single time there is a complaint.”

His rivals predict his revolutionary socialist movement, which aims to end the worldwide oppression of the worker class by the elite, will end as soon as he graduates from his American college and comes back to Pakistan. Some analysts say he will continue his subversive activities by getting a job in the development sector and wasting billions of dollars in projects based on faulty theoretical assumptions.

Asked if his parents knew he was using their money to prepare for a revolution by consuming large amounts of Vodka, he said this scribe would be among the first to hang after the revolution.

Earlier, two committees appointed by the government and the Taliban to negotiate with Misbahul Haq failed to convince him to run faster. After the breakdown, several innocent victims of his slow pace of scoring, especially when chasing large totals, are now saying they are considering surgical strikes. “I really had to use the bathroom but I couldn’t go because Misbah wouldn’t finish the game,” one of them said. “For the entire 50 overs we were neither winning nor losing, and I just didn’t know what to do.”

The author has a degree in Poetics of Prophetic Discourse and works as a Senior Paradigm Officer.


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