Making some sense out of nonsense


Wanting both the power of government and the bad-boy freedom of opposition

Take Dr Shireen Mazari and Khwaja Saad Rafique. The former is a graduate of the London School of Economics, who went on to do her PhD from Columbia University. The latter’s political credentials are even more impressive, because he cut his teeth in the choppy waters of the realpolitik itself, fending for himself and being rather successful at it.

Now compare these two, not with each other, but with an FA student who has chosen civics as an elective subject. The former group’s grasp on issues of the state would be found wanting.

Consider, for instance, Khawaja Rafiq. On Dawn News’ Faisla Awam Ka (December 16), he maintained his party’s stance on the recent execution of Quader Molla in Bangladesh. That is his democratic right. The problem came with his lack of a satisfactory answer to host Asma Shirazi’s simple question: your party is running the government. Your Foreign Office has said the issue was an internal matter of another sovereign state. How can your party, then, pass a resolution against it?

Consider, then, Dr Mazari, on a number of shows. Those blocking the containers passing through on to Afghanistan are not KP government officials, but PTI activists, she says. First of all, since the party runs the government, that argument doesn’t make any sense. Secondly, if we let the whole doesn’t-make-sense business slide – as the PTI often does – it actually makes her position worse, not better. Though Dr Mazari does make things even worse by saying, on a talk show, that she won’t answer any questions on behalf of the KP government because she is not its representative!

The principle of collective responsibility (write a note on it, FA Civics student) be damned!


A camel is a horse designed by a committee

What is Ejaz Haider saying here, on Capital TV’s Bey Laag (December 18)?

The leader of the house represents the treasury benches and the leader of the opposition represents the opposition benches, he says? Well, that’s just plain wrong.

Why? Because every member sitting on the treasury benches has voted for the leader of the house, the prime minister. On the other hand, the leader of the opposition has not been voted in by every member of the opposition; this position merely belongs to the member who enjoys the support of the single, largest voting bloc within the opposition.

But wait, when one watches for a bit longer, one realizes that is not the point Haider is trying to make. He is merely trying to reason with the guests representing the PTI and the JUI-F, who were saying that the proposed national security committee should not be including only the leader of the opposition but also them.

Undoubtedly, the leader of the opposition (the PPP’s Khurshid Shah) is the seat at the table that the government is giving its parliamentary opposition. But these other parties also seem to want one. Which would mean that if there are 10 independent parties in an opposition of, say, 110 MNAs, then the number of seats opposition members would have in the committee would be more than those of the government!

Maryam Nawaz and Paul Walker

The need for a really good media team is lost on no one, least of all, the media-obsessed PML-N. But it seems they haven’t done too good a job for Maryam Nawaz Sharif, whose doctors of spin, it appears, have sent out the following press release.

According to latest available statistics for the leading internet search engine Google, Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the daughter of the Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is ranked fourth among the list of the personalities most searched about by the Pakistani internet users. On the top of the most searched for list is Paul Walker, the leading actor in the popular “Fast and the Furious” Hollywood movie series, followed by the late Bollywood actress Jiah Khan who allegedly committed suicide in her Mumbai apartment earlier this year. Quite understandably the renowned Nelson Mandela holds the number three slot. MQM’s Quaid Altaf Hussain had also made the list, holding the sixth slot.

It is to be noted that amongst the top-ten most searched personalities in Pakistan, only three hail from Pakistan. These, besides Maryam Nawaz Sharif, include MQM’s Altaf Hussain and the bride of the recently wedded pop singer Atif Aslam, Mrs Sara Bharwana.

Well, the prime minister’s daughter, the Czar of the government’s sparkling new youth loan programme should be happy, then. To be in the same list as Mrs Atif Aslam.

Signing off this edition of Media Watch for the first daughter’s media team.