Enlisting the 20 most influential individuals of the year
New Year’s Day is when we all take a look back at the previous year, sifting the memorable moments from the not-so-memorable ones. And while we do precisely that, we’d also be mulling over the most significant people, and try to conjure the list of the most influential individuals of the year, culminating in the Person of the Year 2012. Here’s our top 20:
20. Suicide bomber
Struck 36 times, killing 306, and injuring 559. Few managed to make more headlines, and fewer still managed to rubberstamp their entrance into heaven.
19. Conspiracy theorist
Had a remarkable year, even by his astronomical standards. Creative highlights include the ‘Malala and bullet’ theory, the tattoo hypothesis and the ‘Taliban don’t exist’ revelation.
18. Dual nationality holder
Sat in the parliaments and the courts, governed the country, with the possibility of an escape route to a gaudy mansion abroad still very much intact.
17. Dollar and Rupee
Tied for 17th, their achievements wouldn’t be properly appreciated without juxtaposing one with the other. The latter reached new lows as the former skyrocketed to its apogee, nearing the 100-rupee mark. The Pakistani rupee would soon be the new cent.
16. PTI critic
Few have the cojones to tackle the predatory beast that a PTI fan is. The PTI critic had to deal with unoriginal abuses, hysterical threats, allegations of being Sharif-funded, impolite references to his family members and unpleasant questions regarding his birth as the beast continues to prowl around for blood.
15. Ehsanullah Ehsan
Spokesperson of the year, Ehsanullah represented TTP with vigour and integrity. Remaining calm amidst heated arguments with journalists, he continued to make a mockery of religious apologists’ claims that accused the Taliban of lacking ideological understanding.
14. The gatekeeper
Had to keep an eye on Familygate, Mediagate and even remnants of Memogate, as journalists and editors continued to be unoriginal with their headlines. The Watergate custodian still occasionally screams out in his grave owing to media’s banality.
13. Armchair revolutionary
Pointed out everything that’s wrong with the country, launched e-Jihad on social media and showcased selective conscience to maximise ‘likes’ and retweets. Might have invoked a fraction of the clamoured change, had he managed to log out of Facebook and Twitter.
12. Pakistan hockey fan
Didn’t glory hunt, whine endlessly on social media or summon tedious ‘in-law’ jokes every time we played India. He patiently watched his team take baby steps towards retracing old glory with a podium finish in the Champions Trophy and gold in its Asian version. It was a promising year for Pakistani hockey fans – all three-and-a-half of them.
Dr Asim Hussain had remarkable gas troubles, Dr Hafeez Shaikh flaunted amazing budgetary theatrics, Dr Shakil Afridi redefined “treason”, Dr AQ Khan bolstered his plagiarising credentials and Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri threw a very popular spanner in the political works. Meanwhile, YDA conveniently forgot what they had signed up for, to generate volumes of racket.
Hardly anyone was more in demand throughout the year, but like a true rock star CNG kept the hordes waiting and waiting. One look was never enough of course, which is why masses planned their daily, weekly and even monthly schedule keeping the celebrity’s timings in mind.
9. Dav Whatmore
Comfortably the most influential person of the year in the linguistic realm, Whatmore managed to add Punjabi to Sinhala, Tamil and Bengali in his impressive array of foreign languages. Swears in a seamless Faisalabadi accent; his instinctive Punjabi expletives every time Shahid Afridi attempts a cross-batted slog are a treat for the ears. He is the Noam Chomsky of the Indian subcontinent.
With a larger than life persona, Blasphemy shook the nation continually. Pointed fingers, brought the country out on the roads, burned people and property, generated fear in hearts and hogged editorials throughout the year. While Blasphemy lived inside every single one of us, we only managed to see her in others – that’s the magic trick she plays on all of us.
7. Iran-Pakistan pipeline
A love polygon that had more sides than one could imagine, IP is arguably the most romantic story of the year. A grumpy American uncle, a half-hearted Chinese friend, a Russian businessman and a Turkmen beauty all played their part with ‘I’ eventually giving ‘P’ the money to buy the bouquet that’d win I’s heart. As an international sub-plot, many a leader threw their toys out of the pram over IP – one of those that Vladimir Putin threw hit S M Krishna on his head in October.
6. Rehman Malik’s barber
En route to completing his ‘cobbler to barber’ transition, he synthesised his masterpiece atop Pakistan’s interior minister – one that Legros de Rumigny would’ve been proud of. While his “Exploded Nest Cut” made Malik the fashion icon of the year, being the mastermind behind the million dollar idea of blocking cell phones to ensure national security, the hairdresser is also our military strategist and security analyst of the year.
Regularly getting undue credit, Zionist managed to influence every crucial event in the country without actually doing anything. Some call him overhyped, while the majority believes he has the strings of this country tied to his belt. Rarely has someone enjoyed so much acclaim in a country they have nothing to do with.
He’s alive, emerges out of every house, and rules the country with a rusty iron fist. His children were regularly paid homage to, the ‘spiritual son’ – the president of the country – smiled teethfully on his way to a historic term completion, the grandson flaunted his political credentials as the quasi Bhutto for the Generation Z. Remembered by the masses on January 5 and April 4, Bhutto’s achievements were also recalled by many on December 16.
3. Veena Malik
An ideological scholar who didn’t carry religion on her sleeves, when she wore clothes that have sleeves, or other crucial fragments of dresses for that matter. With ‘Astaghfaar’ Veena beat competitors like Junaid ‘religious-authority-on-potato-snacks’ Jamshed, Amir (insert swear word) Liaquat and Maya ‘you-shall-not-date’ Khan as the most in-demand TV host during Ramadan. While many a scholar ridicules religion on a daily basis, Veena’s mockery was the only one that caught the eye.
2. Swiss postman
One former prime minister was always bad at letter writing, be it in his grade 5 examination or when he wrote love letters to his college sweetheart. And so he bit the dust when the Supreme Court tested his letter writing skills. His successor scribbled down what was asked of him. Our second most influential person of the year culminated a 30-month saga when he rang the bell at the headquarters of the Swiss Authorities in Geneva.
Became public enemy number one in September, and then left the country. It is 105 days and counting since then, and masses don’t miss their blood relatives as much as they miss YouTube. Even those who burned down the country protesting against YouTube used proxy servers to gain access. Like a true tease, YouTube played a cameo on 29th December to give us a flashback of the beautiful – yet oh so distant – past. YouTube is without a doubt the Person of the Year 2012.
The writer is Editor, Business/City (Karachi), Pakistan Today. Email: [email protected], Twitter:@khuldune