By Irum Saleem
Senior journalist Abbas Nasir has written a classy satire on Prime Minister Imran Khan. In his article ‘Dreaming dreams’ in Dawn, Nasir castigated the premier the way that he he even couldn’t sue the writer.
Nasir writes: “The moral of the story is that you can make a mess of governance, send the economy plummeting into a tailspin, and set some kind of a world record in sacking chiefs of civil service and police in the province that should matter to you the most and yet you are in good health.”
“You are fine because your path to power was plotted by those with the ability to extend a steadying hand whenever you floundered on that journey, even carrying you over the finish line finally. And not just that. So many favours were piled up that they started to resemble that Paris landmark.
After all, how could you have survived the consequences of a tenuously fragile parliamentary majority (mustered by someone else in the first place) left to your own designs? You could not manage a win for your candidate in the National Assembly that should be the citadel of an elected government’s power.”
It was left to someone else to get your (and perhaps theirs too) man in another house to the highest position as some among those in the majority saw the magic of the wand (or knotted, lacquered cane) and agreed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
When the masters change their tune, so do the courtiers; they only echo the good and the mighty.
All this enabled you to assume an air of invincibility. So much so that you possibly forgot your real flesh and blood benefactor and started to attribute all the good and goodies that have come your way including a glittering office to the paranormal. That was a mistake. A big mistake.
If that wasn’t enough, for you to try and assert your legal, constitutional right was a bit much and that too in the manner of a spooky office and its holder. Pointless and petty, if you ask those who matter, and, therefore, unacceptable.
That office may be spooky but the real, true source of shock and awe and fear is elsewhere. You forgot and where do you stand now? Alone in your own launching pad of KP as you face ‘death’ by speculation? Not just baseless speculation. There is indeed method to the madness unleashed against you.
Those great and the good in the media who saw nothing of the manner of your ascent to office, blocking of the path of your opponents and, apart from echoing someone’s concern about how poorly Punjab was being run, applauded you all the way to the sad state you find yourself in today.
The analysts who became your favourites and for whom you could do nothing wrong, despite all facts pointing to the contrary, are now upset at the spiralling debt, rampant inflation that has eroded even the middle class’s ability to put food on the table, what to talk of the poor, if all that has just happened.
Up until this autumn, when your reticence over a ‘routine’ posting and transfer spooked powerful quarters, these media analysts, like you, blamed the past governments for your faltering administration and were among those who were willing to give you a blanket vote of confidence.
Who can blame them? When the masters change their tune, so do the courtiers; they only echo the good and the mighty. In any case, fickle, pliant media men and women are not a shadow on those who were defiant over a rejected notification and staked and lost everything on that principled stance.
Cheated out of their mandate, hunted, hounded, jailed but not broken. Not for a while at least. But then not everyone could have lasted the distance such is the stark reality around us. When friends and foe alike tell you that defiance, even principled, entails hardship that isn’t easy to face what do you do?
Live to fight another day? The decision to opt for life, no matter how hamstrung, rather than political martyrdom seems to have triggered a countdown. Not sure if the countdown will end in finally some respect for popular will or other outcomes are also a possibility.
Who knows if all those at the helm decide that real change can unleash forces that again can’t be controlled, after all there is comfort in familiarity, regardless of the contempt it has bred. Chastened by near-death experience, what if peace and amity can be found in mutually beneficial extended tenures?
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Islamic Republic. Nothing can be dismissed as a joke here. Everything lies in the realm of possibility. One just hopes that whatever happens, happens to the benefit of the vast, shirtless majority. Not a big ask anywhere but here? Nasir hopes.
Most readers may agree what Abbas Nasir has written about Imran Khan and the establishment. And those who don’t in fact they could not get to the bottom of the satire. Is Not it? PAK DESTINY