Former president Asif Zardari is on the phone with the now convicted prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif.
“Mian Sahib, I know what you must be going through these days, especially with your wife being so ill, but never lose hope. Initially, I was taken aback when I heard that the Supreme Court will be building dams to help tackle the water crisis, and the court had observed that the government does not want dams to be built because that it isn’t the government’s priority.
“You see how so close to the election, we were being labeled as indifferent,” said Zardari.
“My brother Asif, you are right. These judges have no idea about public life. They think that we are indifferent. Now tell me how many people visit a dam? And now you see how many see and use the bus systems I have built in Lahore and other cities, and the Orange Line Train … hundreds of thousands of people see it 24 hours a day, and tens of thousands use it.
“My brother Asif, at voting time will the people go to see dams and vote for their builder or the projects they see every day!” declared Nawaz Sharif.
“You are right. Mian Sahib, this is why, I immediately instructed Bilawal to talk about it. Instead of waiting for holding a press conference, I told him that he should tell the journalists gathered at our Zardari House in Nawabshah that there was not a single country in the world where the judicial branch of government had constructed any dam. He told them that this job must be left to the government, legislature and executive,” responded Zardari.
“Absolutely, you are right, Zardari Sahib.”
“Mian Sahib, indeed you may done a few bus and rail projects but just see this … the total cost is 101 billion rupees for one dam – the Daimer Bhasha Dam. The government has released 71 billion and now the project needs another 29 billion.
“This means that every adult Pakistani should pay about 200 rupees average. The CJ had paid 1 million from his own pocket… the Army is contributing two days pay. And so many others are paying too, even overseas Pakistanis.
“I am told that in thirty days they collected a few million from the people. Even if we assume, I am told if they collect 20 million per day, then it will take 72,500 days to reach the target, or 199 years.
“At the moment, this fund is being administered by the registrar of the Supreme Court,” Zardari stated.
“My dear brother Asif, the Supreme Court is too busy troubling us … both of us … the real leaders of the people, so how can they manage such a big fund,” agreed Nawaz Sharif.
“Mian Sahib, voting will be on July 25, and a few days later the new government will be formed. This is where lies our opportunity. We will get the parliament to get the fund under our control, and of course start spending. Both you and I, know a few good consultants who know the rates they pay for finder’s fee,” added Zardari as they both guffawed with laughter.
“You are right my brother, yes it is the finder’s fee,” agrees Nawaz Sharif.
“Mian Sahib, you have experience with the ‘qarz utaro, mulk sanwaro’ (pay off the debt, and better the country) scheme, which you did in your second term … if I am right, sometimes in the late 1990s. Yes, our party also has similar experience, in his last year as prime minister, our great and beloved leader … the martyr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto introduced a similar scheme. The television commercials asked everyone to contribute one rupee a day, which would be used for development purposes,” said Zardari.
“Yes, my brother Asif … yes … people were sending me money from everywhere, even from overseas,” agreed Nawaz Sharif.
“The possibilities are endless, Mian Sahib … endless. Let the fund control come to us … the construction and the machinery come later, first we will get going on the land acquisition and resettlement … absolute gold mine. Mian Sahib, a windfall awaits us,” jubilates Zardari.
“My dear brother Asif if your were in London with me right now, we would have toasted with glasses of lassi. Yes … yes … yes … a windfall awaits us,” said Nawaz Sharif raising his own glass of his favored dairy beverage.