This is world cup time and football is the flavor of the season. Not in Pakistan where there is a Naya Chief. He has not yet spoken and everyone feels that he will quit politics! Aaah! He can not be a Pakistani Army General! Something funny is happening in Pakistan? Call it different? Understatement.
However, being from a cricket crazy nation, I can not but think of the goings on in Pakistan (another cricket crazy nation) in cricketing terms. Cricket puts things best in focus when we speak of Pakistan. The next choice for me was to see what describes Pakistan best? Were the events were to be equated with batting or bowling? To obviate doubt, I went in for the pitch report. What did it say? The pitch in Pakistan is at present sticky and good for bowling. Hence, I chose to slot the events with the kind of balls best suited for this pitch.
I open this innings with spin. Bowler? Bajwa. His first ball was front of the hand wrist spin when he said that for seven decades the Pakistani Army had “unconstitutionally interfered in politics”. He followed it up with a doosra when he criticised political parties for erring and being intolerant towards rivals. His teesra was that the Army will keep away from politics in future. The rest of the over was about the fall of East Pakistan, which as per him “was not a military but a political failure. The number of fighting soldiers was not 92,000, it was rather only 34,000, the rest were from various government departments.” Hmm Bajwaji. From where did India get 93000 POWs? Yahya Khan, Tikka Khan and Niazi were civilian politicians in drag as generals? Bajwaji bowled typical Pakistani Army spin. Hit for a six. No more bowling for Bajwa. Sent on retirement.
Next over is swing. Bowler? Naturally Kaptan sahib … charging in… 92 style. First ball was an inswinger on “imported Sarkar” and “Neutrals who were Janwars” during the rumbustious Jalsa’s. Second ball was an outswinger on the “long march”. The third ball was tailing in and he got shot! He should have retired hurt and gone out. But the born again Muslim, saved by the grace of god, has started reverse swing from outside the stadium. The Pakistani government took guard for a siege, and was reinforcing security around the capital. But the Kaptan called off the march and dissolved the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies. He has caught his opponents completely off guard. But wicket nahin mila! Ab kya hoga? Kaptan sahib will return to the bowling crease after he gets well. In the meantime he is polishing the ball with some grease and scuffing it with a bottle cap in true Pakistani style.
Third over. Full of straight and fast in-dipping Yorkers by the venerable TTP. They have unambiguously clarified about the resurgence of militancy. They have signalled the end of a tenuous ceasefire with Pakistan. TTP has ordered its fighters to carry out attacks across the country “wherever and whenever” and have followed it up with their first suicide attack in which four individuals, including a police officer and three civilians, died in a suicide attack near a Balochistan Constabulary truck in Quetta’s Baleli area. From here on Pakistan will have to wear helmets on its ankles and bother about its existential problems with Pashtuns. India seems to be safe haven in comparison.
The next over. Full of Wides. The first wide is the economy which is always off target. Invariably every wicket keeper in Pakistan has failed to save the byes which leak from the chronic economic Wides. Kabhi current account deficit. Kabhi foreign exchange reserves. Kabhi dollar rate. Nothing hits the stumps. The result? Pakistani finance ministers have been running hard between FATF and IMF. They are constantly out of breath and ideas. They need a new finance minister like a new runner every 3-4 months. The next wide is from the Chinaman who constantly bowls a googly with the CPEC. Why is CPEC a googly? No one knows where it is going. It is completely back of the hand stuff. The latest in the over of ongoing Wides is the resignation of a couple of senior Army officers. This is an interesting development. Is it a rift in the Pakistani Army? One cannot tell. Why? Pakistani Army plays at both ends simultaneously. One can never make out who is bowling at whose stumps. So are they really bowling a wide? Not as per the FWO and DHA and the Fauji foundation of Military Inc. In between the over, the smaller Sharif bowls a no ball intentionally, asks for a time out and then runs to London to consult with his coach. He comes back and his government continues to bowl more no balls. The latest finance minister says that Pakistan will become interest-free in five years through Islamic banking. Then the strange case of the Law minister who resigns and a month later he is reappointed! All in a day’s game.
Out of the blue there is a mystery ball. The visiting English cricket team is struck by a mystery illness. Joe Root, the former captain dismissed the possibility of his team teammates falling ill due to food poisoning ahead of the first Test match in Rawalpindi. BTW one does not need food poisoning to fall ill in Pakistan. The air is toxic enough. Serves the English well. They created a toxic country. They have a stern test series ahead. They are determined to appear on the field with gas masks on. My advice. Keep a helicopter handy. Never know. Ask the Sri Lankans.
The next ball is total full toss. As per Dawn, Imran Khan has congratulated the newly appointed military leadership, expressing the hope that it would work to “end the prevailing trust deficit” between the nation and the state. Ah ha. Finally someone in Pakistan has realised that there is a gap between the nation and the state called Pakistan! In this version of Pakistani future history, the nation is Imran Khan and the State is the Army. Don’t forget. Pakistan is a land filled with Arabs, Turks and Persians who came from Endya! Hence their concept of nation state is a bit hardwired the wrong way.
All this is very confusing indeed. So let us look at the Naya Generals who have taken guard at the crease. They are regular openers and will carry their bat through the innings. Irrespective who bowls they always score centuries. They cannot get out. Why? They are also the first umpire, second umpire, third umpire and match referees in Pakistan. Every time Pakistan chooses a Naya COAS democratically, it expects stability and hopes for democracy to flourish. The COAS soon takes over the nation. That is their history as per Najam Sethi (see graphic). Why will it be different this time around?
Look let us be frank. The more one searches for Naya Pakistan, the more it will look like Purana Pakistan. So it is only a matter of time that Pakistan will be all out for no loss.
Till the next time….
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