All on the same page
2018 has been touted as “All-On-The-Same-Page Year” for Pakistan. In the three day celebrations that began at the Parade Ground in the capital on December 29 to mark the end of the year, the announcement was made from the podium at the outset. The information minister reiterated for the umpteenth time that this was the first time in the last 70 years that “all institutions of the country were reading from the same page of the same book”.
For once, he said, the faulty ‘civil-military’ binary has been put aside in the New Pakistan that was born on July 25 “by the grace of God”. What have also been weeded out are corrupt political elements, to be replaced by clean ones.
In the new country, academic non-sense declaring Pakistan the state of martial rule will not be acceptable, the minister stated, adding that “We need an altogether new framework of analysis.”
His speech was followed by an enthusiastic rendering of the national poet Iqbal’s kalam by Ali Azmat and Salman Ahmed. As the evening fell, the audience that had swelled to more than a million listened to the duo in rapture, enthused by a real junoon.
It was amid a thunderous applause that IS DGPR took to the stage. “The country can now only look ahead,” he declared, adding how well his institution managed the dharnas during the year. “It was no mean feat breaking the power of Deobandis and empowering Barelvis, and handing them a political party of their own, a party of the masses. It was only a logical outcome of our efforts to mainstream the extreme elements.”
He especially praised the historic juncture where the judiciary and military stood with the government of the day, and each institution shared the other’s burden. “Look at how the army chief tours our friends like China, Saudi Arabia and even UK, to take the foreign affairs’ load off the prime minister’s shoulder, thus preparing the ground for the PM who is engaged in domestic matters. And shouldn’t we bow our heads in praise for the judiciary’s efforts to build the much needed dam,” the IS DGPR acknowledged with a broad smile.
He recalled with praise how the DG BAN thought it fit to report his bureau’s progress to the prime minister, affirming the consensus against corruption. His meeting with the prime minister was not hidden, he said: “it was televised and put on the front page of newspapers the next morning”.
The only irritant in this consensus, he said, are the dissenting voices on the media, even social media, but “we are striving hard to prevent all such elements from reporting anything but progress in the country. I am glad to announce that a majority of people who matter in this country understand and subscribe to our notions of national interest and national security. The rest already understand the risks involved.”
The celebrations will continue for the next two days.
— Farah Zia
(This is a piece of satire)