The Swiss Nest needs Caring

The recent report that the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is calling time on a series of banknotes from 1976, and they will lose value in 2020, has spurred the former Pakistani President Asif Zardari into action.

He has summoned a meeting with his son Bilawal, daughters Bakhtawar and Aseefa, and sisters Fouzia Zardari, Azra Peechoho and Faryal Talpur to discuss the Swiss holdings situation.

Zardari starts the discussion, “I am just surprised at myself that I did not note that Swiss Francs have an expiration date.

“You all will remember that when this chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhury tried to shortchange me after outlawing my and Benazir’s NRO with Pervez Musharraf, how our great lawyer Farooq Naek did not let anyone near our Swiss bank accounts.

“I needn’t tell you that documented money is not the safest. So in addition to that over discussed Swiss account of $70 million, I have safe deposit boxes in a few Swiss banks and of course in other countries. It is good that the vast majority is not familiar with SFr exchange with the Pakistani rupee … 1 SFr equals Rs.107.30.

“I am leaving Geneva this evening and visit all our safe deposit boxes and make sure that we are only keeping bank notes that have long lives.

“Yes, Swiss are very mindful of the interests of money owners because banking is a mainstay but instead of waiting for them to change the limit of exchange, I am making my move now.”

Addressing his three children, he adds that they have the numbers to all these accounts and safes, he adds, “One should never tire from exploring avenues for safekeeping one’s assets.

“Yes, the assets are safe but being in deposit boxes they are not earning dividends. I will also be meeting with Swiss funds experts and lawyers to see how we keep these assets in motion to earn on them.”

His younger daughter Aseefa asks, “What about investing though our offshore companies?”

Her father agrees and advises, “Yes offshores are a great bet but in this age of leaks and hacking, we need to find safe airtight offshores before moving our cash there. This is why I am not tying any of our deposits and boxes to any of our offshore companies.

“Even if we our control over Pakistan doesn’t come in 2018, but our rule in Sind everlasting, Sind is growing our holdings and we will continue this hold.”

His older daughter Bakhtawar chimes in “God bless our grandpa, Shaheed Bhutto and our mother that the Sindhis are keeping us comfortable.”

Her father raises his hands in prayer and declares, “God bless them, they are more than gold mines for us.”

With a wink and smile, he quips, “But what about your Dad who produced your mother’s will?”

“Dad, why can’t we get that part of the will etched in gold?” she asks.

“Bakhtawar and Aseefa before that I have to reveal the full will. Your grandpa started the PPP; the great and venerated martyr Bhutto Sahib. Your mother has also willed that both if you are deputy co-chairs. She was extremely mindful of preserving the family heirloom.

“Also after I am done with the money matters in Switzerland, I have set up appointments with political consultants in London our great and venerated Bhutto Sahib spearheaded his campaign with his undying slogan ‘Roti, Kapra, aur Makan’ … food, clothing and housing. I will discuss ways how we can enhance the effectiveness of this slogan.

“I am thinking of editing the slogan to ‘Roti, Kapra, aur Makan, maang raha hay hurr insaan’ … everybody asks for food, clothing and housing.”

“Dad,” Bakhtawar interrupts her father, “I suggest we make it ‘Roti, Paani, Kapra, aur Makan, maang raha hay hurr insaan’ … everybody asks for food, water, clothing and housing. Like people of Tharparkar have no water, even people of Defense in Karachi even Karachi have no water.

“And so far, our party has done a good job that people continue to ask for food, water, clothing and housing.”

Bilawal seconds his sister, “The day these folks will get food, water, clothing and housing, they will say, ‘Where is Bhutto,’ whereas now they keep saying, ‘Bhutto is Alive, Bhutto is Living’.

Zardari, all loving smiles for his children says, “Indeed, you are heirs to great wisdom … great leadership skills. Certainly, your ideas are fantastic and I will include them in my discussion with our British consultants. But right now the Swiss nest needs caring.”


Don’t We Have Bottled Water?

Firoze Phadaywala, founder and chairman of FP Developments, who is also president of the All-Karachi Builders and Developers Association, is meeting with GulPir Shigafvi, founder and chairman of GPS Real Estate Agencies, who is also president of Greater Karachi Real Estate Agents Association, are meeting to discuss the on going slowdown in Pakistan’s, and especially their metropolis’ property market.

“Whether people like it or not, but the growing political challenges for Muslims after Donald Trump became president of America proved good for our industry. Trump’s hate message contributed in convincing many overseas Pakistanis to make an early decision of having a second home in the country,” said Phadaywala.

“Indeed Firoze, one man’s loss is the other man’s gain. Any advertisement, we placed in Pakistani newspapers in America used to get so much response. At GPS Real Estate, I set up a special number to receive the volume of American calls,” informed GulPir Shigafvi.

“You right GulPir, you are right. But for this useless Supreme Court of ours! The same Supreme Court that wrote a judgment in English that our Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif could not understand why he was thrown out, yes … the same Supreme Court obliged the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) to completely ban construction of buildings beyond ground-plus-two floors in the city. And for what … that Karachi has water shortage.

“Isn’t this insane, GulPir? You have Defense Societies One to Ten or whatever, and do any of them have a drop of water? What are tankers for?”

“Firoze, if Ayub Khan had not shifted the capital out of Karachi to Islamabad, we would have a Supreme Court living here … one using tanker water.

“Firoze, would that Court pass such a mindless judgment?

“Really, who cares for water? Have ever seen a single overseas Pakistani drinking tap water during their stay in Karachi. All you see is cases upon cases of bottled water going out of stores.

“I would say, we would be offering multi-storied building with no plumbing for potable water. It is an unnecessary expense!

“I would say the we have to admit that we failed to properly lobby the Karachi Water and Sewage Board (KWSB) because it was KWSB that moved the court to slap a ban on new high-rise projects … and you note that due to its … the KWSB’s inability to provide enough water connections.”

“But GulPir, we can’t blame the KWSB because it is for this reason, it is providing opportunities and jobs to thousands in the water tanker industry. And does any tanker company sell water at government fixed rates? The only thing we hear during the Eid holidays is that all water tankers will be sold at government rates. Does it happen! Ever!

“GulPir, we should call meetings of the boards of our organizations and suggest that we file a review petition in the Supreme Court. I think that we stand a fair chance.

“Our lawyers should cite the World Bank study of 2009 that there was a shortage of 7.5 million housing units in Pakistan, which increases by 0.35 million housing units every year. Thus according to the World Bank’s estimates, there must be a housing shortage of at least 10.3 million units in 2017. This should sway the court.

“On top of that I have found a very useful argument. It is said that during a time France was facing a bread shortage, and their queen asked why are these people protesting. When she was told that they are protesting for bread, she rightly suggested why all the protest about bread when you can eat cake!

“All this crying about water holds no water when you have abundance of bottled water available everywhere.”

“Firoze, you are right. In our review petition we will give the assurance that every building we construct will have a coin operated water bottle dispenser!

“Is it the builders or real estate sector’s obligation to build and sell housing that has water supplies?

“Even Gwadar Port is being built without a water supply.

“Yes you are right! Don’t we have bottled water?”

Pakistan Needs a Dealmaker

The news that the U.S. President Donald Trump decided not to meet with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in New York at the UN over the pretext of being busy was considered as degrading to Pakistan.

Pakistan Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani issued an angry missive, suggesting if Donald Trump did not have time to meet with our prime minister, then there was no point holding a meeting with vice president Mike Pence.

Rabbani is a Pakistan Peoples Party stalwart, and ChuttPutt TV rushed to interview his party’s co-chair, the former President Asif Ali Zardari.

ChuttPutt TV assigned its star anchor Kushdil Matkawi for the interview.

“Mr. President, you must have heard about Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani’s advice that if Donald Trump did not have time to meet with our prime minister, then there was no point of him holding a meeting with vice president Mike Pence.

“What is your opinion in this matter?

“My friend Kushdil Matkawi how are you supposing that I only heard about Rabbani’s missive to Prime Minister. You should know that no member of our party could even say a word without my approval. Yes, of course, this was improved and approved by me.

“So despite that Shahid Khaqan calls upon Pence. Great job!,” chuckles Zardari.

“My friend Kushdil Matkawi, no one needs to learn from any intelligence reports or Google that Trump only listens to himself. Now what do we get from this much heralded “highest” level contact between Pakistan and America since the policy was announced last month.

“We all know that the new policy is humiliating and disrespectful of our sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, and indifferent to our security concerns. It was being said that this had prompted a re-assessment of Pakistan’s ties with the United States at the highest level.

“Where do you see any re-assessment?

“At least, we can perhaps take comfort that Abbasi did not take out his notes while talking to the American vice-president. You call it a little improvement on Mian Nawaz Sharif.

“But I was hoping better. Shahid Khaqan is not only an engineering graduate of University of California, Los Angeles but also holder of a master’s degree from George Washington University. Yes, I was expecting more than a photo opportunity with Pence.

“My friend Kushdil Matkawi, Pakistan needs a dealmaker, especially when in Trump, America has a dealmaker.

“It is no secret why Modi is Trump’s tight friend like he was Obama’s tight friend. You see all the buying he is doing from America. Did you count the deals done by Saudi Arabia and UAE after they started against Qatar? Do they have the airspace to fly such big jets? No. Simply, Trump likes those who buy American equipment.

“Instead of setting up so many metro buses here and there, we should have been buying American equipment. Yes, America would not sell us jets … F16s or whatever, but we could have purchased private … the American-made corporate aircraft. Mian Nawaz had 47 cabinet members. So here you were talking of at least 75 corporate jets including standby planes. We all know that Imran Khan would have created a fuss over it, but Mian Nawaz Sharif could have purchased these aircraft for provincial ministers in Punjab and Sindh as well.

“I am not Imran Khan! I would have welcomed corporate jets for all of our Sindh cabinet members. It would have been a great asset for us. We would be calling it the Shaheed Bhutto Peoples Air Service!

“Of course, Mian Nawaz Sharif is London oriented. Look at me; I have real estate interests not only in UK, but also America and France and Dubai. If Trump is builder than instead of building metro bus systems or primary schools, buy into his projects.

“Perhaps you are familiar with the trickle down economy so brilliantly practiced by President Reagan. It was simple. All this purchase of corporate jets would have required commissions which have accrued to Mian Nawaz and his ruling group but then what do you do with cash leftover from your kitchen expenses, you invest. And investment creates jobs. This is what is most dear to Trump … creating jobs. If I were there, I would lead all my party people to invest in Trump properties.

“Trump is a dealmaker. Asif Zardari is a dealmaker. Pakistan needs a dealmaker!

Take It America!

In the aftermath of President Trump’s speech of August 21 accusing Pakistan of aiding and abetting terrorism, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has taken his cabinet colleagues Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique and federal minister for privatization Daniyal Aziz to meet with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Saad Rafique true to his form opens the discussion, “Sir, Prime Minister Sahib, you must have seen our great man, Khawaja Asif’s response to Trump’s utterly disgusting speech.

“Certainly, you made the right choice to have Khawaja Asif as the Foreign Minister of Pakistan. So Trump thinks that only he can tweet. See what great tweet our Khawaja Asif has done.

“I mean, Imran Khan is always showing off about his playing days when he placed the ball on the right spot. If anyone can do the right moves, it is our Khawaja Asif. See how he took care of the Haqqani issue. He drew the attention of Asif Zardari that instead of criticizing our government, he should rein in Hussain Haqqani because this person who was Zardari’s ambassador to the U.S. is taking credit of authoring the American policy that Trump announced.”

Khawaja Asif interrupted his cabinet colleague, “One needs to put things in the right perspective. The U.S. is always blaming Pakistan for harboring the Haqqani network, whom they have placed on their terror list.

“I mean since 2001, this Haqqani … Haqqani song has being going on from America.”

Danyal Aziz basking in the euphoria of his much delayed cabinet plum, adds, “They have the real Haqqani and they keep blaming us.

“They even made him Senior Fellow and Director for South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute!”

“Yes, Mr. Prime Minister. This is what I am saying that this Haqqani … Haqqani song keep playing when they are the one who are pampering Hussain Haqqani,” repeated Khawaja Asif.

The Prime Minister pauses and adds, “See despite all this, Trump is telling us that ‘We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations.’ So as our foreign minister, you did the right thing and asked them about Hussain Haqqani enjoying American perks in Washington, D.C.

“And the connection of Zardari is clear enough. What about Trump? Didn’t he invite Zardari to his inauguration?

“I tell you the Zardari connection is deep. When Biden was Vice President, he had dinner with Zardari in Virginia.

“You are right. This Haqqani and Zardari connection is a reality. It was your duty as foreign minister to lay it out clearly.”

Khawaja Asif, Saad Rafique and Daniyal Aziz attempt to speak at the same time but Khawaja Asif gets his words through, “It is time that we say ‘Take It America!’”

Saad Rafique adds his bit, “I mean we are talking about the Haqqani issue and CNN airs its interview with Imran Khan.

“It is simply outrageous. Our embassy in Washington should let CNN know.

“And this Gori of CNN … I mean Hala Gorani … was constantly dropping in the prime minister word for Imran Khan to pick. No doubt, President Trump calls CNN as ‘Fake News CNN’. This woman was trying plant the idea of prime minister in Imran Khan’s already confused mind.

“Thank God the PTV is under government control and did not telecast the live debate on foreign policy because every word from Imran Khan was incendiary … absolutely!

“Now, what else you can expect from Imran Khan. He told CNN that that Pakistan could survive without any aid from America.

“Really! Without aid! Imagine who will enter politics when they know there is no aid money coming to dip their hands into.

“I mean Trump is asking change from Pakistan. But did he say that we change so much that we don’t ask for aid.

“Mr. Prime Minister your father was in the air force, but even Khawaja Asif and Daniyal Aziz would remember that milk powder used to come in American aid, and every body would try to get that milk. Where else you could find American milk in Pakistan.

“Our nation has been raised on American wheat and American milk, and Imran Khan is telling CNN that Pakistan could survive without any aid from America.

“I think Mr. Prime Minister that now our Khawaja Asif has initiated the Haqqani discussion, our foreign office should issue a statement asking them to rein in the Haqqani in Washington before asking us to rein in Haqqani wherever he is in Afghanistan.

“It should be a fair deal!”

Khawaja Asif interjects, “Yes, Mr. Prime Minister, I will get this statement issued keeping in mind the American TV news cycle timings so the all Americans should know that Pakistan has said, ‘Take it America!’”

Planning is the Word

Punjab Chief Minister and Pakistan’s Prime Minister-to-be Shahbaz Sharif arrives at the Punjab House in Islamabad to meet with the “seat-warmer”, the interim prime minister being brought in for 45 days, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

He is accompanied by Dr. Amra Raza, Chairperson of the Department of English Language and Literature, at the University of the Punjab.

Also in attendance are Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Chief of Protocol Sahebzada Ahmed Khan.

“Abbasi Sahib … Shahid Khaqan Abbasi you can understand how much confidence our Prime Minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif has in you. He has handed you this family heirloom for safekeeping – the ruling of Pakistan. The entire Sharif family has great trust in you,” stressed Mian Shahbaz Sharif.

He continued, “Our Prime Minister Mian Sahib could have bestowed the office upon my son, Hamza. But you know kids. Who knows that after 45 days, when I came, he would have asked, ‘Abba so soon!’

“Mian Sahib, could have assigned the office to Abid Sher Ali, son of his wife Kalsoom’s sister. But again you know sometimes dealing with in-laws and that too young people like Abid, is sensitive.

Bhaijan, Mian Nawaz is a man of great wisdom. He knows that you will use these six weeks to advance the glory of the Sharif family.

“Abbasi Sahib, the other day, you made this very intelligent observation that there is no harm in possessing an iqama; it’s just a visa. Yes. But why didn’t you share this point with Bhaijan’s lawyers?

“I know some people have to find faults. Now of all people this Peoples Party is making noise. This Senator Sherry Rehman is saying that there’s no such thing as an Interim Prime Minister in our Constitution. She is saying that caretaker is different, which is before polls only. Uff, my God, Peoples Party and Constitution!

“So. Who cares!

“Now all of you know me well. I am a person of planning. See how well I have planned the sewage and floodwater system in Lahore. Every time there is heavy rainfall, I am there wading in the water in my Wellington boots that I always buy from Harrods when I am in London, and my Panama hat. I don’t know why Imran Khan took umbrage over Panama. It is but a hat inventing country!

“And see how I get extensive media coverage when I reach out to flood stricken in our cities. All this increases my public support. I can win any election by a landslide!

“Yes, about planning. The first person that I would have picked for my cabinet would have been Ahsan Iqbal who was the choice of my Bhaijan for minister of planning. But now Imran Khan is making noise about his work visa … his Iqama in the Middle East.

“You may also be hearing the tattling that why my son, Hamza is being brought in as Chief Minister of Punjab. They are talking about things like experience. Uff, haven’t they see he is always traveling with 21 to 22 car protocols. What experience. Abbasi Sahib, you are familiar with the famous Urdu saying qazi kay ghar kay chhoayy bhi siya-nay hotay hain … even the mice that dwell in a judge’s house are smart. I mean real judges, and not like the five judges who gave this verdict against Bhaijan. Hamza has been born with ruling genes!

“At least for Punjab, this Sherry Rehman cannot raise the constitution issue over the interim chief minister. There is no constitution for provinces! Hear that Sherry!

“I have only six weeks to prepare to hold the chair for Bhaijan when he becomes Prime Minister, the fourth time in 2018!

“I know it is a problem created by the Americans that the wife of head of government is called First Lady. Everyone here agrees that I have still one more to go. Of the four allowed, I have just three wives. Now the problem will arise how do you call three different ladies, First Lady?

This is why, I have brought with me from Lahore, Dr. Amra Raza, Chairperson of the Department of English Language and Literature, at the University of the Punjab, who can enlighten about English language usage.

“Also, we have with us our Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Chief of Protocol Sahebzada Ahmed Khan. I am sure that especially Sahebzada Sahib being chief of protocol can enlighten us about this best.

“Madam Janjua, I hope that you understand the problem. For you it is simple. You are married to just one person, Syed Mansur Raza and he serves as first spouse when go to international meetings.

“Dr. Amra Raza, I am appointing you as the chair of the First Ladies Appropriate Nomenclature Committee. You can draw on any needed personnel assets in the public or private sectors, and please do send me the budgetary requirements for this committee.

“Now that we are discussing the title of more than one lady being the First Ladies, I have also been thinking about the need for a bigger plane for the Prime Minister. It should be something that can nicely accommodate three master bedrooms, with their own sitting areas. You can’t have one first lady in first class, and the two in coach class. You can’t have three wives with a husband in a row seating arrangement!

“Abbasi Sahib, you own AirBlue and have successfully run PIA into the ground, you can get the right jet ordered before I arrive.

“As I said that I am a planning person. I see an opportunity in our team’s June winning of Champions Trophy. Abbasi Sahib, you get the ball rolling with Najam Sethi and the Pakistan Cricket Board to educate Pakistanis that Champions Trophy is far weightier than World Cup. Crystal versus metals! Everyone should understand the difference between a trophy and a cup. It is matter of understanding simple English. People need to be reminded that Imran Khan merely won a cup but in June, Pakistan won a trophy.

“Talking about our Champions Trophy, I am reminded how our captain Sarfaraz had difficulty answering questions in English.

“Also, I have heard much about our sports people going overseas are not cultured enough. Not only they can’t speak English but also they can’t use western style bathrooms or even use western utensils … like eating with forks and knives.

“I have been told that in the United States cultured butter is a big rage. This is why these Americans are so cultured! In the first executive order that I will sign as Prime Minister, I will make cultured butter as a compulsory part of sports peoples’ diets. We need to send cultured sports people abroad. We can even take a World Bank loan to import this cultured butter from USA.

“What if we can’t have Ahsan Iqbal but remember that planning is the word!”