Friday, 21 November 2014

A shameless action replay, D Asghar

A shameless action replay, D Asghar

The countdown has begun. The idiot box is busy drumming up the usual nonsense that people were subjected to a few months back in August. This time it is being labelled the “decisive battle”. The last day of this month is supposed to alter the course of our history. As if we have not had a colourful history to begin with. Imran Khan and his remaining followers are still unable to quit the delusionary state they seem to be in.

The ‘umpire’ has left the pavilion for Yankeeville even as these lines are being penned. Conventional wisdom dictates that the paymasters would like the umpire to concentrate on the mission that it has finally focused on. If my cricketing terms serve me right, we are looking towards another innings that one can safely call an action replay. The sagacious ‘cousin’, who left the angry middle-aged politico, made a whirlwind trip around the world in 30 days and has decided to make a comeback just in time. 

Self-proclaimed pundits and make-believe experts on the idiot box have started pontificating on these developments like Armageddon is round the corner. Who needs entertainment when there is theatre like this in the world? The idiot box has the age old excuse that the public demands and wants to see all of this nonsense nonstop. As far as the public is concerned, the less we say about it, the better off we are. The public is sick and tired of the ongoing tussle between the macho Khan and the seemingly meek and mellow Prime Minister (PM) Sharif. 

The change mantra that started in October 2011 has changed one thing for sure: the sense and sensibilities of the people. The culture of loud and derogatory language, the antagonism and the short-term political decisions of both the ruling party and their political nemesis will certainly go down in the history books of this sorry nation. The super statesman, Maulana Azad, held very critical views about our founding father and the people who surrounded him. If the people that we hold so high in our esteem were lost and rudderless, according to Maulana Azad, then imagine what the jokers on the political stage today would have been termed by the late Maulana. 

The talking heads bring the jokers on the box to opine over what is going to transpire on November 30, as if the poor country’s existence is in danger. This is called the power of the media and the conditioning of brains. I often wonder how young and sometimes educated people become victims of extremist brainwashing and end up becoming jihadists. One need look no further when the educated and enlightened are seen giving justifications on the idiot box about the pent up rage of the people and their passionate rationale for attacking the state. These are people who are exposed to daily rhetoric and believe that only a superman with a colourful scarf around his neck can save them from evil. Mind you, most of these people go to premier learning institutions in the country and have access to the world in the palm of their hands with the latest gadgets. When people mortgage their ability to think independently or, for that matter, part with their critical thinking skills, the imaginary world and its delusions become gospel. 

The pressing question being raised is how many people will be able to come to the federal capital on the day. One has to ask: what difference does it make? Assuming there is a crowd of a million people that day, then what? The other naive question being raised is: what will the umpire do at that point? Is the crowd of a million going to decide what the constitution of the country will be for the remaining population of this country? If a gathering of well prepared hoodlums on August 14 was not able to dent the basic resolve of constitutional supremacy, will it be compromised this time around, just because Khan has vowed it? Then there is the thunderous allegation levelled by Khan that this “corrupt” government is using the national exchequer to buy journalists. These are known as lifafa (envelope) journalists because they accept bribes, presumably in envelopes. It is high time that whatever professional unions and organisations exist representing journalists take Khan to task in a court of law and have him present his ‘evidence’ in front of a competent judge. 

To Khan, from this non-journalist: apparently you are counting on tigers and tigresses who wear designer clothes, classy sunglasses and speak in accented English to bring a revolution. I am sorry Khan but they are too invested in the status quo that you so abhor. Perhaps when Hameed Gul dragged you into the muck of politics, he forgot to give you a very basic lesson: politics and cricket are two totally different games. It takes decades to build and cultivate your relationships and bonds in this game. Even if the umpire makes your dreams come true, your opponents are not going to vanish because they have spent perhaps twice as much time as you in this field. There is perhaps twice the amount of people behind them as well. You may dismiss them as ‘subjects’ or ‘lackeys’ but, from their perspective, they would rather deal with someone who has been tested than an emotional upstart. On November 30, expect no major breakthrough from any quarters.

The writer is a Pakistani-American mortgage banker. He can be reached at He tweets at

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