The party looked less at ease, after having cured its constipation with some Hashmi ispaghol
If you were in Karachi this Sunday and missed the grand PTI carnival, you seriously need to get a life. I mean, for decades, young Pakistanis have been whining, “There’s never anything to do here!” and “Why can’t we have more social events, like Glastonbury?” And now, when the son of a Pathan (a Mianwali Pathan, but Pathan nonetheless) has actually taken the initiative and provided them an outlet, people like you have no excuse for not being there.
Indeed, Sunday’s Mardi Gras was the cure to a lot of ills. Imran Khan looked decidedly more at ease, after having cured his constipation with some Hashmi ispaghol. Abrar-ul-Haq was not his usual, domineering Punjabi self and actually sounded coherent. Shah Mehmood Qureshi chewed, enunciated and articulated his way into the history books and Imran’s legal team (Wajih, Hamid and Co) made sure that no libelous material was spewed forth. All in all, it was a civilised affair and everyone who went had a really good time. But is that what we really wanted from ‘IK: Live in Concert’?
Back in 2008, a black man was roaming the United States asking for change. Not in dollar bills, mind you, but in the shape of a paradigm shift. Obama’s message was clear: the status quo has let us down and its time to take matters into our own hands. This was all music to the unassuming American masses’ ears and they fell for the honey trap hook, line and sinker. Four years on, and now people are starting to wise up. Where are the landmark foreign policy and economic reforms? Has Obamacare made life better for the average American? How long can the Democrats ride the wave in the mosh pits of Pearl Jam and Green Day concerts that they use to draw people towards their cause? And most importantly, why is the US still involved in places like Guantanamo and Afghanistan? Can it be that the promise of change was merely a mirage? Have the American people been duped? OH NO!
For those who fail to see the writing on the wall, the message of the graffiti artists is quite clear. Imran Khan is a good man. He belongs to a good family, is well educated and of sound mind (sort of). He is eloquent and just as devilishly handsome today as he was when he lifted the crystal trophy in Melbourne in 1992. And, above all, he’s never been in power before, which means we can ‘trust’ him. I don’t know about you, but all of the above doth a good dulha make, but not necessarily a good leader of nations. Pundits, nay-sayers and sundry others have been yelling themselves hoarse, asking Imran to let on his actual cunning plans for the future of our fair backwater. But no answers have been forthcoming. All we’ve got is a veritable cyber army of trolls, uncouths and social misfits, willing to lay down life, dignity and honour to defend IK’s chances in the next general elections. I hate to say it, but (even at the risk of sounding like a broken record) batting (or bowling) credentials don’t quite cut it when it comes to abstract constructs such as development policy! Or land reform. Or women’s empowerment. Or poverty alleviation. If they did, Shahbaz Sharif’s motorcycle sojourn through flooded Rajanpur and his dinner at the dastar khwaans of our kissans would make him the next Jinnah (God forbid!).
Seriously though, I do hope that IK wins a few seats this time around. Enough to put him in contention for the Leader of the Opposition slot, or better yet, Minister for Sport, Culture and Youth Affairs. I wish this because I am not comfortable handing over the reins of my hollowed-out shell of a country to a man who is a certifiable megalomaniac. Right now, the cult of personality works in his favour because there is no actual work to be done yet. But come election time, all this fervour will be so much hot air. I want to know what good will come of a Hashmi-Qureshi-Leghari-Tareen nexus in South Punjab. I want to know how Imran plans on capturing the hearts and minds (sic!) of the rural populous with his Twitter and automated phone call-campaign. I want to see what happens when this holier-than-thou all-rounder from Zaman Park has to decide between cutting subsidies on petrol or wheat flour. Because this is the true test of the mettle of a man.
And above all, I want to be there when he breaks down and proclaims on national television, “You have no idea how hard it is to run a country!” I want to be there because I want to say to him, “Well son, neither did you. But you asked for it.”
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