Sunday, October 3, 2010

A League of Their Own

A spectre is haunting Pakistan - the spectre of yet another political party. It promises to bring about (yet more) "fundamental change in the way politics in conducted in Pakistan" and promises that "in the absence of such change Pakistan will not survive." It loftily envisions a "stable, democratic and prosperous Pakistan" and nobly wants to "empower all of Pakistan's citizens regardless of gender, faith, class or creed, to achieve their aspirations for the future." Its leadership says they are "not politicians" and in normal times "have no inclination to be involved in politics." But then "these are not normal times" because "Pakistan today confronts existential challenges." It believes our current crop of politicians, whether in government or in the opposition, "do not have the ability to guide Pakistan out of its troubles." It wants to bring "people of competence, integrity and honour" into the country's politics and would like to draw particularly on the ignored genius of the skilled Pakistani diaspora (because, hey, who can be more patriotic than people who immigrated to another country, right?).

But it faces some steep immediate challenges: for one, its main leadership is sitting abroad and it's not completely clear when it might actually get its feet on the soil of the motherland to do the real spadework of organizing a cadre. Secondly, so far, it seems to be under a bit of delusion that internet presence can translate into anything that matters politically on the ground. Can it translate its virtual presence into an actual vote bank?

No, no, no, I don't mean that new party.

No, not this new party

I'm referring of course to the party that only those who eyes wander over to those "targeted" Google ads on Gmail, Youtube, fiverupees and various other Pakistani sites know about (talk about a niche vote bank!). Yes, I'm referring to the futuristic party that has been threatening a revolution in the wonderland of Cyberia for many months now.

Initially, I was just tickled by the name: Mustaqbal Pakistan. Yes, it's not mustaqbil (the usual Urdu pronunciation of the word meaning 'future'), it's MustaqBAL. Now, as someone with an ear for accents, I just immediately assumed this had to do with the ethnic / linguistic background of the  people behind this venture - or at least the (probable) head honcho who came up with the name (think Central Punjab.) But since my curiousity got the better of me, I checked out their official website in which they go to some great lengths to explain their name (apparently, it's a Frequently Asked Question) by differentiating between the noun ("with the meaning of the passive participle") and the ("active participle") verb versions of the word, in Arabic. Sigh. It's that whole Ramzan vs Ramadan thing all over again.

This internet party

But the party should actually have been called the Wonder Party, because it leaves you wondering what kind of evening resulted in its formation. Pointing out that "politics today is almost a dirty word" and "has come to be associated with incompetence, corruption, lies, extortion, intimidation, violence and, yes, even stupidity," it amazingly admits that "some of our colleagues - people of merit and excellence - are apprehensive about having their names linked publicly with Mustaqbal" (smart folks?). Therefore, it lists no names except for the Chairman's, who as I initially speculated, is actually from a Chiniot / Lahore family (that eventually settled in Karachi).

In fact, such was the revolutionary zeal of the party ("our names and faces are not important") that, for the first couple of months, it did not even list the Chairman's name. (Maybe, he too was apprehensive about having his name linked with the party? Some reconsideration eventually led to some video clips of him answering questions, in all probability self-posed.) How's that for a political party whose members have the courage of their convictions, eh?

But among the more interesting aspects of the party of the future is that the Chairman, an MIT-trained civil engineer named Nadeem Mumtaz Qureshi, actually never lived in Pakistan between 1974 and 2006, which might explain the fact that the party's section on media has this gem:

"..if one were to judge by the content of media programming it would appear that all of Pakistan is an ultra liberal society. An outsider would think that Pakistanis have nothing better to do than sing and dance all day. He would get the impression that women are liberated and modern."

Really??? I don't know which media Mr Qureshi has been watching but, then, we did say this party should be called the Wonder Party. In any case, in addition to drawing particular attention to the burning issue of empty cigarette packets being "thrown casually on the roads", public spitting and "bad manners" while driving, the party also has in its short 'Code of Conduct' for its workers the following two bits of admonitions:

- Childish conduct such as special number plates, blackened car windows, etc will not be tolerated
- Use of rude, intemperate or obscene language with the poor or with subordinates not acceptable

Don't you just love revolutionary parties that cover all the big issues in the world? In any case, these aspects probably led to the other Frequently Asked Question"What is the difference between Mustaqbal and Tehreek e Insaf."

Good question. Apparently, the "fundamental difference", according to Chairman Qureshi is one of the "strategy" Imran Khan's party uses to "play the same game" as traditional parties to "win seats and power." Phew, glad we got that sorted out.

: : : TAILPIECE : : :

About that other new party, here's what I've been thinking since someone pointed out that the fancy schmancy designed logo of General Musharraf's party sort of reminded them of the Deccan Chargers logo in the Indian Premier League...

Sab se pehlay Bull

Perhaps the All Pakistan Muslim League can be launched as the new premiere wrestling (noora kushti?) or boxing league where the different factions of the Muslim League duke it out and battle for supremacy. Think of it this way, it'll make great television entertainment (I know the jostling has already begun on Geo but we're talking a revenue stream here) and maybe they'll even fly in cheerleading squads that'll be a darn sight better than the Tehmina Daultanas, Marvi Memons and Atiqa Odhos of the current Muslim Leagues.

Trust me, you don't want to see Tehmina Daultana trying this

Readers' suggestions for the team names, as well as their logos and slogans for the Premiere All Pakistan Muslim League, are welcome. If the designers among you want to send us your actual artwork of the logos, you can do so at our email address. Will be happy to put up the best from among them. So get cracking people, and find the team to support.


mcphisto said...

team with sharmila farooqui as cheer-leader will get my vote.

Anonymous said...

very gud.

shah jee said...

bullshit blog... cafe pyala, now u r history after the recent exposure...

Magnum said...

LOL! Zabardast piece, Pyala. maza agaya. Jeetay raho.

Anonymous said...

what a ridiculous blog?

Alpha Za said...

haha, I disagree, it's pretty interesting. I like the misdirection in the beginning, even though I got since I had seen the Mustaqbal website before.

btw, I don't see any significant similarity, if you're going by shape, then I'm sure you can make all the other IPL teams fit with our other parties.

Anonymous said...

a forced piece of writing. just because people read ya don't shit people, cafepyala!!

Anonymous said...

i am confused