As long as we are all brothers
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.