The Noon League is infamous for its partial treatment of the city of Lahore. The Super Sharif Bros have long been accused of neglecting their own constituencies and indeed every other constituency in the province that is their fiefdom in favour of ostentatious acts such as the planting of palm trees along Gulberg Main Boulevard. Planted during CTBTs second tenure, the palm trees are still very much there even today and have yet to be declared anti-state vegetation by the ruling Pee Pee Pee. But theirs has not been an easy life.
For years, during the murderous regime of the right honourable Pervez Falahi, these palm trees languished while all around them less exotic plants and even lesser weeds and shrubs were regularly watered and polished. Since these palm trees were remnants of a time long forgotten, so too were they forgotten and the Parks and Horticulture fairies did not smile on them like they used to. This was also the time when one Moon-is, a hitherto unknown scion of the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, was allegedly getting his posterior beaten pillar to post by relatives of a certain Generalissimo. This tale, which nearly all Lahoris who monger in gossip are familiar with, is as old as most private TV channels. That the impudent Elahis thrashing was never linked concretely to his subsequent departure from the country with his tail between his legs is beside the point. What is central to our current discussion is the fact that this wee lad with a side ki maang and a reputation for playing it fast and loose (with both facts and members of the opposite sex) was in no way a political figure. Even as late as early 2010, the veritable Moon-is was nowhere on the public or the media radar, unlike his counterparts from the Super Sharif clan. Compared to Raiwinds Ham Sharif whose face is plastered everywhere from grottos to jalebiwalas Senor Moon-was an unknown. So deplorable was his anonymity that his election to a Punjab Assembly seat was rigged by the same company that does the financials for the MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. This firm was paid a gigantic undisclosed sum in order to guarantee not only a win for the prodigal son, but also a crash course in Leadership 101. Many moons and millions of dollars later, Moon-man was no closer to being a leader than he was when he was in diapers. But things were looking up.
Enter the FIA, the fire-breathing dragon that swallows scandals whole and spits out scapegoats for public trial, prosecution and disgrace. The FIA is so effective at what it does that it has never had to catch any real criminals. Those unfortunate enough to step into the agencys sloppy-at-best traps, including the likes of Ponzi-artist Double Shah, are let off with a slap on the bum and a multi-million rupee plea bargain. Only a bunch of right nitwits would ever enlist these people to do their dirty work, and they did. The Super Sharif Bros, of course, sought to get their own back at the Chaudhrys who had deserted them before their Saudi sojourn and thought the best way to go about this would be to jangle the Chaudhrys family jewels. Thereafter, the NICL scandal was drummed up, wherein heavyweights such as a former Minister for Defence Production and his son were implicated in a land scam so outrageous it could only have worked in Pakistan. Apparently, Messrs Habibullah and Mohsin Warraich sold off some land at a price much, much, much higher than it was worth to the government of the day, which proceeded to buy said land at said price, never once trying to haggle to bring down the price.
If you try to Google the NICL scandal, a lot of shady websites with a lot of shady content show up, but nowhere can you ever find a timeline of events as they supposedly happened, nor do you have a list of the major players or even a complete list of the assets in question. There is even the matter of a certain mythical cheque, supposedly signed by Moonis, which is hitherto MIA. That the FIA has merely shreds of proof shouldnt really prevent the courts from going about their work. But the way Senor Moons publicity campaign has been managed really puts many seasoned PR firms to shame. Whats surprising is that thanks to the whole shebang, Moon-is now a leader, a martyr for democracy who is being politically implicated in a wholly undemocratic exercise. The bungling Super Bald Bros have, inadvertently, solved the Chaudhrys biggest problem by inadvertently turning Elahi Junior into a publicly recognisable figure. Now if they could all just get along…
The writer is a broadcast journalist.