Serendip­ity is thy name!

The Pak Banker - - Front Page - An­jum Niaz

AS stiff as our For­eign Of­fice is, surely it must have come face to face with ‘Lady serendip­ity.’ No, it’s noth­ing sexy. It is some­thing you stum­ble upon by ac­ci­dent and can use it to your ad­van­tage. A hap­pen­stance, if you will. Seize the moment and make the first move, For­eign Min­is­ter Hina Rab­bani Khar.

‘Ladies first’ rule is the way to go. Her coun­try dis­likes Obama as in­di­cated in a re­cent BBC poll that showed 21 na­tions around the world polling for Obama’s re-elec­tion while Pak­istan be­ing the only coun­try wish­ing Rom­ney in the White House. Still, Khar can do some dam­age con­trol. But first she needs a les­son in his­tory and po­lit­i­cal sci­ence. A crash course in ‘Obama-PK-con­nect.’

The mid­dle name is Hus­sein; his fa­ther was a Mus­lim; his mother lived and worked in Gu­jran­walla; his room buddy was a Pak­istani; his best friends in Columbia were Pak­ista­nis; he spent 3 weeks in Karachi; he loved Pak­istani cui­sine taught to him by his best friend’s mother; he mas­tered mak­ing keema and chicken curry. And he is the only Amer­i­can who pro­nounces P-A-K-I-S-T-A-N cor­rectly!

How desi can a guy get? It’s never too late to cash in on Obama’s spe­cial re­la­tion­ship with Pak­istan. Why lis­ten to Im­ran Khan and dis­tance our­selves from the Amer­i­can pres­i­dent blam­ing him for the drone strikes. Why not blame our civil and mil­i­tary es­tab­lish­ment for let­ting Amer­i­cans use our airstrips from where the drones used to take off? Who are we kid­ding? One man of Pak­istani ori­gin in UK has al­ready cashed in. Play­wright/jour­nal­ist Rashid Razaq has writ­ten a play based on Obama’s col­lege days when he lived in Har­lem shar­ing a dingy and dirty apart­ment with an il­le­gal Pak­istani named So­hale Sid­diqui. The year was 1985. The Pres­i­dent and the Pak­istani is an 85-minute play. It is di­rected by Tom At­ten­bor­ough, grand­son of film ac­tor and di­rec­tor Lord Richard At­ten­bor­ough, the mas­ter­mind who made Gandhi. The play opened on Oc­to­ber 3 at Water­loo East The­atre in Lon­don. The last day of play was on Novem­ber 4, just two days be­fore ‘Barry’ got re-elected as the pres­i­dent.

It is 3am. Barry Obama and his room­mate Sal Maq­bool (screen name) are look­ing for a miss­ing dog on the streets of New York. This is the open­ing scene. Razaq has bril­liantly mixed fact with fic­tion to cap­ture the au­di­ence’s imag­i­na­tion on how this young man of mixed parent­age found a roof at the apart­ment of a Pak­istani when he had nowhere else to turn to. Poor, tired, cold and hun­gry, Bar­rack Obama, ar­rived in New York from the West Coast, lug­ging his bags up the end­less stairs to knock at Sid­diqui’s door.

In Dreams from My Fa­ther, Obama men­tions a Pak­istani room­mate when he lived in New York, a man he calls Sadik who “had over­stayed his tourist visa and now made a liv­ing in New York’s high-turnover, il­le­gal im­mi­grant work force, wait­ing on ta­bles.” Ear­lier, when Obama was at Oc­ci­den­tal Col­lege on the West Coast, he had two Pak­ista­nis as his best friends. Ac­cord­ing to 2008 New York Times report, Wahid Hamid, later be­came a vice pres­i­dent at Pepsico in New York, and had do­nated the max­i­mum $2,300 to Obama’s first cam­paign. The sec­ond friend, Mo­hammed Hasan Chan­doo, played host to Obama in Karachi when they were in col­lege. Ac­cord­ing to NYT, Chan­doo, who later lived in Ar­monk, New York, was a self-em­ployed fi­nan­cial con­sul­tant. He too “do­nated the max­i­mum, $2,300, to Mr. Obama’s first cam­paign.

But here’s the rub: Obama’s best friends may have been Pak­ista­nis, yet our lead­ers rou­tinely failed to im­press Pres­i­dent Obama in his first term. When he met Pres­i­dent Zar­dari and Prime Min­is­ter Gi­lani who came call­ing on him in Washington, I no­ticed their body lan­guage. The meet­ings were awk­ward, strained and dis­com­modi­ous. Obama made no se­cret of his dis­ap­proval of the two Pak­istani lead­ers. I am no psy­chol­o­gist or po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist, but my sus­pi­cion is that Obama, be­ing a self made man, has no time for our lead­ers who thor­ough cor­rup­tion, en­ti­tle­ment and wrong­ful means reach the very top of power. Obama didn’t think much of Pres­i­dent Mushar­raf ei­ther! As Se­na­tor Obama, he strongly ad­vo­cated that Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush dis­tance him­self from Gen Mushar­raf, who in the mind of Obama was a taker.

It now falls on the frail shoul­ders of young Madam Hina R. Khar to try re­con­nect­ing the lost links be­tween Obama and Pak­istan. Trav­el­ling back through the arc of friend­ship and fa­mil­iar­ity that the US pres­i­dent must store in some re­mote cor­ner of his heart and brain for Pak­istan needs to be jogged gen­tly.

Amer­ica is now of­fi­cially black, brown and white. “Well thank God Obama won,” a friend from Is­lam­abad re­marked. “Even though he failed to live up to ex­pec­ta­tions, which were un­re­al­is­tic any­way, I think had he failed to make it again to the White House, then no non­white would reach there again for a 100 years”

Fox News is eat­ing its heart out. Chief-racist-loud­mouth Bill O’Reilly sounds dev­as­tated on Obama’s vic­tory. He laments the end of “white es­tab­lish­ment,” say­ing, “It’s a chang­ing coun­try. It’s not a tra­di­tional Amer­ica any more. There are 50per cent of the vot­ing pub­lic who want stuff. They want things. And who is go­ing to give them things? Pres­i­dent Obama. He knows it and he ran on it.” The fel­low is re­fer­ring to the blacks and His­pan­ics who in O’Reilly’s eyes are greedy, lazy par­a­sites.

This elec­tion stands out as the most ex­pen­sive, di­vi­sive, acidu­lously fac­tious ever in the his­tory of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics. The most tweeted ever, to boot. The re­li­gious right, neo-con­ser­va­tives, white su­prem­a­cists and bil­lion­aires got smacked real hard when mi­nori­ties women, Lati­nos, blacks and coloured stood in lines for hours to re­elect Barack Hus­sein Obama as the 44th pres­i­dent of the United States. Mitt Rom­ney’s own son Tagg wanted to take a swing at Obama when the pres­i­dent called out his dad’s lies. What Tagg con­ve­niently for­got was that his own dad had ac­cused the pres­i­dent of ly­ing sev­eral times dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial de­bates. Had Obama been white, Rom­ney would have shown more re­spect to his op­po­nent, in­stead of look­ing down at him, sneer­ing and glar­ing in his face. Even Anne Rom­ney told Obama to “grow up!”

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