Fools - Adiah Afraz - Sunday, February 20, 2011

Question: Why have I been quiet of late?

Answer: I have been spell bound.

Explanation: The new information minister has got my tongue and I haven’t been able to retrieve it yet.

I mean seriously people? Has the PPP totally lost it this time? From Sherry Rehman to Ms F.A Awan, the deterioration has been swift and steep.

I think of the dignified ouster of the former and then I think of the infamous hullabaloo of the latter, I think of the style statement (or a lack of it) both of them make in public and I think of the eloquence (or the lack of it) they both project in controversial situations. And having done all this thinking, I sit back and heave a sigh. Our information ministry sure has come a long way.

Or has it gone down a long way?

But before I get ahead of myself and indulge in a comparative analysis of the two information ministers and their respective information providing skills, let me ask, on a slightly different note, a very basic question.

Have you noticed that the PPP is gradually getting rid of all the good looking people?

And by looks, I don’t mean nature’s work alone. For me, it’s a bit more than that. Let’s do a quick information recall. PPP is the party of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a man who was charisma personified. A man who didn’t need a hair transplant to look like a leader. And before you forget, remember Benazir? Even in her ajrak and her jackets wasn’t she one of the top most beautiful people in the world? So maybe, charisma is the word to use here. And I am quite sad to note that starting from the Bhuttos and concluding at present day politicians, the PPP charisma department has really nose dived big time.

First, they refused to let Aitzaz Ahsan in, then they let Sherry Rehman go, then they axed Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and now as soon as Fauzia Wahab had started ironing her hair and matching her clothes, we get the news that she is leaving the fold too.

But then Ms Wahab is a totally different case altogether, and technically should not even be a part of the present list. The only lesson we can learn from her example is that nothing lasts forever in politics. Or better still, nothing lasts forever in Pakistani politics. And by forever I mean at least a few months, if not less. Who would have thought a few months ago that what happened to Ms Rehman could happen to Ms Wahab as well? But happen it did. Such is the case of the loudmouths and the amenable alike, no matter how loyal they are and to whom.

As far as the rest of the drop outs are concerned, they might have done things to upset the hands that pull the strings. Much serious things, mind you, than looking good in public and giving competition to those who don’t. But then, even at the risk of sounding superficial, let’s admit that all of them had another thing in common too.

They were all highly educated, well-groomed, well-spoken people, who could at least maintain an appearance of logic, and knew where to put their feet while talking. In short, they generally knew how to behave themselves and didn’t go around making bigoted remarks against fellow politicians.

Think hard, dear readers, and answer this question. Is there a single leader in the present government that you can call truly charismatic?

And before you starting bombarding me with emails about the merits and demerits of Imran Khan, please notice the words ‘present government’ and think again.

All the grace and dignity seems to be leaving us, and after all the chopping down of the bold and the beautiful, what is left of the ruling party now, is nothing more than a bunch of hooligans that only their moms can be proud of.

If you don’t believe me then go to Google images and have a look at our latest cabinet. All you see there is either too old or too new. Yet, some newspapers are giving them romantic little titles like ‘old wine in the new bottle’, or ‘old wine in the old bottle’. I don’t know about you, but all I see there is no wine and a lot of bottles.

And then they say that it is all about image!

I am sure when they talk about image; they don’t mean the visual image but the metaphorical one which pertains to what people think of them.

Speaking of image, the ones to have somewhat redeemed their deteriorating image in the public eye have been the same outcasts I have mentioned above. Aitzaz Ahsan became a confirmed hero long ago, Sherry Rehman’s popularity increased the moment she stepped down, and now Mr Qureshi is the new hero on the block and is even being compared to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

But before we emote too much, let’s not forget that the same outcasts were once the favoured ones who successfully played the devil’s advocate in varying degrees when in power.

Our only problem is that we never know the real truth behind why things happen and for what reason, and we can never really believe what is told to us. On top of it, we have extremely short-term memories and a very low threshold for keeping emotions at bay. We are easy to please and easy to fool.

But then how can you blame the people for being easy to fool especially when their population minister becomes their information minister. The only thing common between the two portfolios is the word ‘control’, and that, for us fools, is as good as it can get.

The writer is an academic.


No comments:

Post a Comment