Not talking to anyone

One of the most profound political statements ever made came only last week when Imran Khan said he was ready to talk to anyone for the sake of Pakistan, except the PML(N), the PPP, and the MQM.

One of the points worth pondering is whether he rated his purity above Pakistan. If the sake of Pakistan demanded that he talk to the PML(N) or the PPP, or even the MQM, would he refuse? Or would simply tell his negotiators to go the PML(N), and thumb their noses at them while yelling, “Nyah! Nyah!”

You can’t be in a good place where one of the conditions of dialogue is that you can’t call anyone either a chor or a daku. And that was Imran’s next move if anyone had asked him why they were not to be spoken to. Unless you have watched a Tamil movie, you probably wouldn’t understand. I would think Imran has watched quite a few, and not just because of the similarity between their plots and some of the things the PTI has claimed have been done.

Just an aside, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Imran found inspiration in how a Tamil film scriptwriter became Tamil Nadu CM five times. Yes, Muthuvel Karunanidhi not only became Tamil Nadu CM five times, but he also passed on the headship of the DMK to his son, the euphoniously named Stalin, who is the current CM. He was named after Stalin because he was born after the latter died, during a public condolence meeting Muthuvel addressed. Stalin was not into films, but his son Udhayanidhi was an actor and producer.

Tamil Nadu has had a close link between its cinema and its politics. The great actor M.G.Ramchandran became CM several times, from the platform of the All-India Anna DMK which he formed as a breakaway faction in his split with the elder Karunanidhi. Dynastic politics took a new turn, reached (rose to? sunk to?) a new level when, on his death, he was succeeded not by the widow or a child, but by his mistress, the actress Jayalalithaa.

But getting back to the elder Karunanidhi, he may be the inspiration for all of the clever plots that Imran has been spraying about, in his attempt to single-handedly revive Pakistani cinema. Maybe Imran should use his time in jail writing the novels, biographies, stage plays and radio plays that Muthuvel did.

I think Imran was actually saying that he wasn’t willing to talk with anyone. Not unless they were willing to praise him to the skies. His real object is the establishment, but it is not willing to talk to him. This is amply shown by its refusal to let go of the May 9 incidents.

There are two views of the events of 9 May 2023, of which the first anniversary was observed last week. One is the PTI view, that there were spontaneous protests against the crossing of the red line by the arrest of Imran Khan, and certain agents provocateurs made the mobs (presumably holding hidden guns against their kidneys) commit mayhem in military installations and against martyrs’ memorials. Another view is that it was part of a conspiracy to conduct a coup, bringing back Imran to office, and doing something drastic to senior commanders. In other words, there was to be a choice between loyalties. To one’s commander, or to Imran Khan. The truth has not yet come out in any court, open or in camera, because the Army wants courts martial, the PTI doesn’t. The Supreme Court is hearing the case.

Well, another case is probably going to go before the Supreme Court, that of the 3500 non-filers of income tax who have had their mobile phones cut off. They’ll probably get some income tax filer to get them a SIM.

It’s perhaps the price of having SIMs available so easily. In the good old days, you could only get a landline if you knew somebody. Now any Tom, Dick or Harry can get a mobile. Funnily enough, even when it was tightly controlled, non-filers weren’t caught that way. Now they are. In the days of landlines, it was nice to have a phone, but now it’s a necessity. It isn’t just being available at any time, anywhere. But you can use your phone to do so many things, because it’s actually a small PC, as powerful (probably more) as your first PC. So not having a mobile is a real hardship.


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