A hair-raising conspiracy By Abbas Nasir - Saturday 16th April 2011

WHAT’S wrong with being a conspiracy theorist? Our everyday lives are filled with so much that is inexplicable and comes out of the blue that often the only plausible explanation for such things is the one that tells you they must be the result of a conspiracy.
In recent months, the most potent threat to the image of the military has come in the manner of the release and exit from Pakistan of Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor, accused of murder.
You don’t have to take my word for it for I believe sovereignty without a life of dignity for my 170 million compatriots means nothing. But this was the view of those members of the Fourth Estate who are totally committed to the concept of a security state and perhaps even more committed to the guardians of Pakistan’s ideological and territorial frontiers.
Equally significant is their claim to have ready access to the nation’s (qaum/awam) views. Must have Gallup/MORI type
polling organisations feeding directly into their studios and newspapers everyday.
So, now that the New York Times tells us that ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha has talked tough to his CIA counterpart Leon Panetta, and that too in the latter’s citadel of Langley, Virginia, is the army on its way to regaining its lost status as the monopolist of all things good and clean in the country? And if that is the case, will the military leadership’s disdain for the present set of governing politicians resurface in the shape of what a former senior officer calls ‘patriot games’.
Patriot Games? Yes, what else should we label the various experiments in political engineering that different military leaders have been carrying out since they initially tasted for themselves that soul-destroying intoxicant called power?
Do we know why the prime minister and other members of the governing party keep denying that there can be fresh elections ahead of the completion of the present government’s term? Any idea why the PML-N’s leading light, Chaudhry Nisar Ali, is appearing bitter than the bitterest of medicines?
Many journalists who have covered parliament will tell you that Chaudhry Nisar has the ability to vent his spleen without rhyme or reason and will caution you against reading too much into his outbursts.
But then, the MQM’s rally draws the sort of statements from a large number of PML-N leaders that one would be forced to wonder whether this is the reaction to an insignificantly weak threat or the fear of something far more sinister?
Then you hear Imran Khan has met Altaf Hussain clandestinely in London. Of course, the former cricketer and his party have denied this. But there can be no denying the timing of the MQM’s Lahore public meeting.
Although quite a few highbrow observers would often rightly dismiss our TV talk shows as absurd, occasionally these shows will also allow one to gain an insight into the politicians’ reading of a situation.
Little wonder one couldn’t help but notice last week when in a TV discussion programme PML-N Senator Mushahid Ullah resorted to the most, and I say with great respect for he is a public representative, crass line of argument with a leader of
Imran Khan’s PTI.
The PTI representative (I do seek his forgiveness having missed his name along with the initial part of the programme) had barely questioned the source of funds for the multiple properties the Sharifs allegedly own abroad when the senator cut loose.
What followed was a torrent in which Imran Khan’s past as a ‘playboy’ was raised in the most uncivil of terms. This wasn’t all.
Senator Mushahid Ullah also objected to Imran staying at his former wife’s mansion in London and Jemima Khan’s staying at Imran’s place in Pakistan on the occasion the two visit each other’s countries.
This, coupled with the cricketing icon’s relationship with the late Sita White ages ago, was cited as a reason to question Imran’s suitability to become the prime minister of an Islamic country.
Imran Khan’s defender, albeit perspiring in anger with his pate shining in the studio lights, was no match for the PML senator’s ferocity. But he did mention the Sharifs’ Achilles heel which, in their case, happens to be their scalps.
He suggested that the Sharifs had got hair transplants because of their earnest wish to appear attractive to women (while the great Khan needed no such help). At this Mushahid Ullah alleged that Imran Khan had also benefited from a hair transplant.
I was left scratching my head — though very gently so as not to dig furrows through it, given how sparsely populated with hair my own scalp is. This was undoubtedly beginning to take the shape of a conspiracy — and nothing short of a hair-raising one.
The idea seemed to be for the PML-N to tell the PTI leader what to expect if he entered the electoral fray (whenever that may be) as a serious contender for power especially if he has found influential backers. But at this stage it is, admittedly, no more than speculation that the guardians of a sovereign Pakistan may be trying to assemble a grouping of ‘clean’ politicians for the next electoral exercise.
So, before serious readers jump down my throat for peddling conspiracy theories and not facts, let me place an irrefutable fact for the public record. Power players in Pakistani politics rely heavily on hair transplants, not unlike their Italian counterparts.
And the phenomenon is not restricted to civilian leaders. Look out for a hairline resembling Berlusconi’s among the monopolists of the clean and the good when the cap is off. I daren’t say more.
The writer is a former editor of Dawn.

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/16/a-hair-raising-conspiracy.html

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