As long as we are all broth­ers

The Pak Banker - - 4editorial - Adiah Afraz

Iam sure that the govern­ment of Pak­istan is long­ing for the good-old days when the only pain in the neck it had to con­tend with was Geo TV. Those were the easy times when all one had to do was ha­rass some cable op­er­a­tors and threaten the gen­eral pub­lic with demo­cratic re­venge.

Ev­ery­one was put in their place in no time at all, and a day's work was nor­mally done long be­fore din­ner was laid on the ta­ble, and Hamid Mir had donned a tie for "Cap­i­tal Talk."

And then things changed overnight. News came of a new kind of me­dia on the loose that doesn't need to don a tie and doesn't need to talk cap­i­tal. It doesn't even be­lieve in minc­ing any words, and it can not be cur­tailed by shout­ing slo­gans about democ­racy be­ing the best kind of re­venge. What's more, it presents the govern­ment with an un­prece­dented sit­u­a­tion of em­bar­rass­ment that even Hil­lary Clin­ton doesn't know how to deal with.

The new me­dia, called Wik­iLeaks, comes with a dossier of con­fi­den­tial stuff so heavy that it is said to be the next big thing since Musar­rat Sha­heen. Yet, the only things I can say in re­sponse to the dis­clo­sures made by this whistle­blower are the five magic words:

Hon­estly speak­ing, is there any­thing in the so-called clas­si­fied leaks that you had not heard be­fore ei­ther from your friend's driver, or from your cook's mother-in-law, or from the near­est con­spir­acy the­o­rist in town?

I mean, who doesn't know that an av­er­age Pak­istani's life is mapped out and stamped on in Washington?

Who doesn't know that Amer­ica is­sues ev­ery govern­ment's clear­ance cer­tifi­cate and then be­comes the so­called "se­cu­rity blan­ket" for them for as long as it lasts?

Who doesn't know that drones at­tack our peo­ple with the con­sent of our own govern­ment? Who doesn't know that the PPP lead­er­ship is a fam­ily heirloom that al­ways goes to the youngest or the most in­ex­pe­ri­enced of the lot? Who doesn't know that re­li­gious lead­ers go on Umra leave when­ever they need a break from a lo­cal bloody fest? And, above all. who doesn't know that fed­eral min­is­ters are lazy, and keep ac­quir­ing brand-new wives in their twen­ties?

In short, we have seen it all, heard it all, and, long be­fore it be­came of­fi­cial, we had be­lieved it all as well.

What most of us did not see com­ing was the bit about Maulana Fa­zlur Rehman re­quest­ing Ann Pat­ter­son to en­dorse his prime min­is­te­rial can­di­dacy. Gosh, this state­ment it­self is full of so many con­tra­dict­ing im­ages that I don't know where to be­gin.

And what I would not have given to be a fly on the wall, or a lit­tle birdie on the shoul­der with the che­quered scarf, when this meet­ing had taken place. What bog­gles my mind is how an hon­est-to-God Amer­ica-bash­ing, woman-fear­ing gent, the Maulana, must have started this con­ver­sa­tion about ask­ing an Amer­i­can woman for help. Oh, how he must have stam­mered and how he must have fid­geted with said scarf. And then, with what ut­most dis­com­fort must he have ut­tered those dreaded words.

"Madam Am­bas­sador, will you be kind enough to buy my MNAs, the Mm-aulanas N-n-ow A-valil­able for S-sale?" he must have started.

"This is a clear­ance sale, and I am not ask­ing for much in re­turn. Just be kind enough to con­sider not pay­ing me in cash or plas­tic. Be­cause, you see, I hate Amer­i­can dol­lars and am averse to credit cards for the sake of my soul. If you could only give me Is­lam­abad in re­turn, I will gladly leave and not bother you again."

I won­der why Ms Pat­ter­son didn't agree to this per­fectly lu­cra­tive barter ex­change. Maybe the con­sign­ment of MNAs didn't come with an ex­piry date, or may be the con­sign­ment of MNAs didn't come at all.

But, what­ever it was, the deal fiz­zled out long be­fore we could get down to the gory de­tails.

And then there is the bit about Pres­i­dent Zar­dari's al­leged hon­est eval­u­a­tion of him­self. " I am not Be­nazir, and I know it," he has been quoted to have de­clared in the pres­ence of the US am­bas­sador.

Now, no mat­ter what the Zar­darib­ash­ers say, I must declare that I give credit to my pres­i­dent for at least be­ing hon­est where he knows hon­esty is the best strat­egy.

Any­one who is in­tel­li­gent enough to re­alise his own de­fi­cien­cies, and the ben­e­fits of own­ing them can­didly in a par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion, is any­thing but a numb­skull.

Only if Mr Pres­i­dent con­sid­ers his nation's in­tel­li­gence level to be at par with the in­tel­li­gence level of the US am­bas­sador, and gives hon­est state­ments where hon­est state­ments are due, we would also re­cip­ro­cate by say­ing the same kind words that Ms Pat­ter­son said.

"Zar­dari knew what his au­di­ence wanted to hear and, over­all, he demon­strated more poise and con­fi­dence than we had ex­pected." Pe­riod.

But I think it's bet­ter not to di­gress into wish­ful sce­nar­ios. Wik­iLeaks might be big, but noth­ing is ever big enough to ruf­fle any feath­ers in our part of the world.

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