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!”

Never Trust an Aitchisonian

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who had served as the petroleum minister under Nawaz Sharif, has arrived in Punjab House to get his instructions to temporarily hold the position of Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Present at the meeting are the eventual officeholder, little brother, Shehbaz Sharif, 65, who is the currently chief minister of Punjab province, the home base of the Sharifs.

Present are the ousted prime minister, the prime minister-in-waiting, Kalsoom Nawaz, the ousted prime minister’s attorney general Ashtar Ausaf Ali – who is drafting the Sharif family’s agreement with Abbasi.

Also present are First Daughter Maryam Nawaz [Safdar], and sons Hussain and Hasan Nawaz.

“Abbasi Sahib, after due consultation with my family, I have selected you because under Yousaf Raza Gillani, in 2008, you have the experience of losing your cabinet position when the Supreme Court ousted him as Prime Minister.

“I have decided to appoint you to this post especially after you were recommended by Kalsoom, the mother of Maryam, Hussain, Hasan, and Asma.

“I have invited our friend attorney general Ashtar Ausaf Ali to draft the agreement that you will be signing today.

“You have served as Chairman of Pakistan International Airlines from 1997 to 1999 during my second ministry. Later, you successfully started Airblue. So you have experience of running a publicly owned corporation into the ground and successfully running your own company.

“You have served as Minister for Commerce and  Defense Production in the Gillani Sahib’s ministry, so are aware of the challenges of business people, especially when people are always shouting ‘corruption, corruption’ at them.

“What a great man in Gillani Sahib! It is remarkable how he recognized the value of the necklace that Emine, wife President Erdoğan donated for flood victims. Did they need it? It was rightly more befitting of his wife, our sister Fauzia.

“It is your experience Abbasi Sahib that endears me to you. You have been with the PPP and enjoy good ties with my brother Asif Zardari. Both, President Zardari and we share the ideal that rule should remain in the family.

“In this agreement, we are saying that you will call a press conference and announce your resignation as prime minister immediately after results for constituency 120 of the National Assembly appear on TV screens. And as soon as the Chief Election Commissioner announces the official result, you will convene another press conference and hand over authority to Sahabaz Sahib.

“It has been agreed by our family that I will be our party’s candidate for Prime Minister in 2018. Similarly, Shahbaz Sahib will contest for both the National and Punjab Assembly seats in 2018. And as soon as the results are announced, he will vacate his post and I will return as the first person to be Prime Minister the fourth time.

“It is agreed between us that during this period of of warming the seat for Shahbaz Sahib, you will only take any action whatsoever with mine and Shahbaz Sahib’s permission.

“It is also agreed that you will appoint my girl Maryam as your special assistant for foreign affairs in which capacity she will function as foreign minister. I want her to gain these credentials before I return in 2018 and appoint her as full time foreign minister.

“We are also agreeing that taking inspiration from your earlier prime minister, Gillani Sahib, you will defy any court, including the Supreme Court if they advise of any action against me or our family. Indeed, the hero Gillani Sahib refused to accept Supreme Court’s orders to reopen the Swiss bribery case against my brother Asif Zardari. He sacrificed his post for our brother Zardari Sahib.

“It is agreed that during your tenure you will not lay any foundation stones, or perform any opening ceremonies, or announce any projects whatsoever. Such actions are the exclusive prerogative of the Sharif family.

“It is also agreed that in case you are required to deliver any speeches or issue any statements, you will start with a preamble that you are guided by the wisdom and brilliance Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and the Sharif family.

“Someone was suggesting that this agreement should be kept in safe deposit box of Shahbaz Sahib’s wife, but then my daughter Maryam rightly said that how can we know that which of Uncle Shahbaz’s three wives is keeping this document.

“So I am listening to Kalsoom, who we all know, is the wisest among us all. She said that she it will be kept in her safe deposit box. She rightly pointed out that God knows how much time Shahbaz Sahib’s three wives will take to decide about whose safe deposit box should hold this document.

“Abbasi Sahib, the entire world acknowledges that Kalsoom knows enforcement. After all she is the granddaughter of our greatest wrestler Gama Pehalwan.”

Kalsoom interjects, “Abbasi Sahib, you know Mian Sahib loves to boast. He is always boasting that no one should underestimate him because he used to bat against Imran Khan without wearing a helmet when he was at the height of his bowling career. Now, this is what his cricketing partner has done to him. And I used to remind him never trust an Aitchosonian.

“Even when I was in 11th and 12th grade in Islamia College for Women, all the girls used to say that never trust an Aitchisonian because they are always running after Kinnaird College girls.

“Now he was telling me that Chaudhury Nisar Ali Khan is saying that he will be the best Prime Minister.

“I told him that what if Nisar Ali Khan does not hand back the prime ministership to Shahbaz Sahib. And instead, he hands over the chair to Imran Khan. I had to remind Mian Sahib about Imran Khan’s speech in the National Assembly where he said that Nisar Ali Khan is his best friend, who even came to receive him at Lahore airport when he brought World Cricket Cup home in 1992. You know that both are Aitchisonians.

“I am saying again: never trust an Aitchisonian.