The Pakistani nation is reliving a fairy tale these days, about the girl who spewed forth toads whenever she opened her mouth. The only departure from that story is that the central figure of our narrative is someone, who was entrusted with the mandate to lead us onto better times, but failed to measure up to our expectations. This person does not appear to have any virtues that single out the leader from the pack. The best he can do is to amuse us with statements that seesaw first this way and that. He speaks without cognisance of his position and calling, which demand that every syllable uttered by him is weighted with sagacity and wisdom.
Years of incarceration appear to have affected his thinking, for in a roller coaster act, he has repeatedly humiliated and provoked the two institutions that give us hope and then has brazenly eaten humble pie by lavishing praise upon them. Perhaps, he should listen to Din Muhammad, my old friend, who sells fruit on a handcart in Rawalpindi and is of the firm opinion that the cause of the poor would be better served, if our man returns to his ancestral gaddi, leaving politics to more intelligent people in his party.
The utterances of our ‘genius’ are mind-boggling. For example, he brands the replies submitted by the Pakistan Army and the ISI in abeyance of a Supreme Court directive, as ‘unconstitutional’ and goes so far as to accuse these institutions of acting like States within the State. Days later, he does a backflip to announce that the aforementioned replies were in accordance with the law and the Constitution.
Turning his guns towards the apex court, our man drops another toad, stating that the Supreme Court could give whatever judgment they wanted to, but the SHO would be appointed by him. Thank you for reminding us of your level of intellect and the fact that you have the SHO at your beck and call to implement or not implement their ‘Lordship’s’ judgments at your will.
Davos, in Switzerland, must be awfully cold so as to freeze our man’s faculties. I say so, because he stood before a private Pakistani television camera team to say that everyone in Pakistan was pro-democracy and against the use of any extra-constitutional means to change his government. So far, so good, but then here comes the toad - he began naming who those pro-democracy quarters were, leaving out the two most critical ones, i.e. the armed forces and the judiciary. I wonder, if it was a case of a memory lapse or was the finger being pointed once more.
From Davos came another priceless gem, when the world forum was informed that Pakistan’s economy was on the road to recovery. While this statement rubbed salt into our wounds, it must have elicited chuckles all around the conference table and considerably enhanced our national image.
And just arrived from the World Economic Forum are two latest vignettes. While talking to CNN, our man claimed that investment was coming into Pakistan. I do not know whether to laugh or cry at this statement, since I resigned from an MNC, when they withdrew themselves from projects in Pakistan because of the poor security environment. The day was then rounded off in a wholesome manner when the ‘hero’ of our fairy tale announced that like the President and the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister too enjoyed immunity.
Wool-headedness appears to have affected the people, who continuously practice their fawning servility around our man. In a comic twist to what can best be described as playing to the audience, the self-driven vehicle, which bore him to the apex court, displayed a number plate that actually belonged to a citizen in Lahore. I am told that a case has been filed in the Lahore High Court citing what is a cognisable offence under Pakistani law.
There are however times, when my opinion is weakened by a nagging doubt - does the man in our story really lack the wisdom required to run a country or are all his actions and utterances deliberate and in accordance with a plan? I shall in the pursuit of wisdom, leave this doubt to linger with my readers, as they sit in homes without electric power and gas and while millions of their country men, women and children wonder where their next meal will come from!
The writer is a freelance columnist.