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!”