Nelson Mandela has named his autobiography The Long Walk To Freedom. We have got a (self-appointed) holder of the franchise in Fawad Chaudhry, who said about his arrest back in January in a sedition case registered because of the threats he is said to have made against the ECP Chairman, that Nelson Mandela was also arrested.
Of course, Mandela did 27 years in jail. ‘Nelson’ Chaudhry didn’t do 27 days in jail, though he did more than 27 hours, and that should count.
Fawad Chaudhry looks more like Billy Bunter than Mandela. Mandela looked like an abstemious man Chaudhry looks like someone who has been placed on a diet, but who refuses to stop indulging in baked goods and processed foods. He looks like a hearty trencherman, who does not stint on the sweet. He looks like someone who has bought joggers, but has never worn them more than once.
He looks like someone who could give Billy Bunter a run for his money in any eating contest. One would not think it, but Billy Bunter can run when he has to.
And so can Fawad Chaudhry. The whole nation might remember his famous bolt back into the Islamabad High Court recently, when he was still very much in the PTI, when he saw the police party which had come to arrest him. Though he didn’t have far to go, he collapsed from breathlessness and had to be helped back to the court where he was given refuge.
What ‘Nelson’ showed was what is known as a durhak. That is a bolt of an animal when it is startled. It is certainly not as deliberate as a walk, Which is what the original Nelson Mandela took towards freedom. Our Nelson, on the other hand, bolted.
Did anyone know then that the bolt was actually away from the PTI, towards the IPP. Of course, our Nelson is ahead in a number of respects. Mandela remained loyal to the African National Congress, his party, which still exists. Our Nelson collects parties. He’s been in the PPP, the PML(Q), the PTI, before he landed in the IPP. He has not done the round of all parties, not having been in the PML(N), the JUI(F), the JUP or the TLP. It might seem that he too secular to join one of the religious parties, but if the right people tell both him and the party, expect to see him in the Jamaat-e-Islami. Mandela did not face any such temptations from BOSS (Bureau Of State Security, as the South African spy agency was called).
The most crucial advantage that our Nelson has is that durhak. The original (or rather first draft, or being an improved version) never went anywhere except at a leisurely walk. The journey to freedom was long, but it was covered in a walk. ‘Nelson’ Chaudhry bolted to freedom.
I see that the PPP got Murtaza Wahab elected Mayor of Karachi. This is the first time the PPP has got hold of the post. Of course, the credit should go to Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah, who made sure he wouldn’t end up in opposition in his own capital. Wahab only won because the PTI councillors didn’t turn up to vote for the Jamaat-e-Islami candidate, as they had agreed. Whatever the reason, Murad Ali Shah should take the credit. Otherwise Imran will, saying that it was one of those U-turns which is the mark of a great leader. The PTI councillors probably didn’t stay away because of their own U-turn, but because of Murad Ali Shah’s persuasive powers. I also notice that the PTI collapsed all over the country after June 9, and nowhere more than in Karachi. It’s possible that the PTI tried to sell the Jamaat (whose Karachi nazim was running for Mayor) a pup, and all those councillors are all underground, in which case Murad Ali Shah had nothing to do.
Meanwhile, the new Mayor was lucky enough that the Cyclone Biparjoy did not wreak the destruction that it was feared it would, and the initial destruction was restricted to the adjoining parts of India. Well, it’s perhaps lucky that Modi is not accusing Murtaza Wahab of diverting the cyclone to his home state. The Cyclone was assigned a Bengali name meaning calamity. Reminds me of the 1970 Bhola cyclone in East Pakistan, which was the worst ever humanitarian disaster in Pakistan, with anywhere from 3000,000 to 500,000 dead. The Yahya government’s response was not great, and the Awami League exploited the issue successfully in the elections after a month. Well, looks like this cyclone didn’t bring the seeds of a secession.