Did I not predict the election will throw up surprising results? It did. The party which was winning actually won; there can never be a bigger upset in Pakistani politics than this. And there can never be a stronger vindication of an interim setup, which I was leading in the Punjab. That done, I did finally manage to travel down to Multan to show solidarity with Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani who was losing from the word go, and who now had a lost son and little protest to show for his defeat.
Im the Dim protests, as I rule Gaddafi Stadium where he would once be known as the king. Then he flies out and comes up with some pathetic version of the London plan to fight his guerrilla war, which he is reduced to doing due to his fall.
Going to London doesn’t in itself give the skipper the stimulus he is looking for. Many mountains have to be climbed before you reach the pinnacle where you can be entrusted with important jobs, all kinds, such as the ones that have come my way. Im the Dim wasted his time playing tennis ball cricket and aiming through guns under a Swati cap in what is now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
My own route has been through the hills of Balochistan where downhill indicated a resolve to battle on. And now as Immy struggles in Pakhtunkhwa and the Man on the Hill sulks in a state of enhanced isolation, I have new places to go to and new territories to discover and am tasting new success in the Caribbean.
Im the Dim does not know the first thing about popular politics. He says the election was rigged. Then he pushes his protest beyond eid. By eid time the chirya and the drones will have flown over a few bridges.
The government by that time will have been firmly established, crying hoarse over the predators and engaging the homegrown spies in a manner that is respectable — both for the government and the spooks that are, conventionally, not easy to control. I told you that by the time I am through with my, albeit, short term as the Punjab chief minister, I will be that much more resourceful, as a journalist, of course.
No, even I didn’t know I will be pressed into service to save something as desperate for a saviour, as national cricket. What I do at the cricket board is national service, as is the job I do at the television station. My own little version of IMF that comes up with the ultimate truth on anything under the Pakistani sun: I and Muneeb Farooq.
PCB happened all of a sudden. There were all these rubbish reports that I was all packed up and ready to leave as Pakistan’s envoy to the United States, but cricket beckoned by ittefaq. The Man of Steel pleaded with me to take it up. He said he would have himself accepted the challenge had it not been for some sundry engagements in Islamabad.
I told Nawaz Sharif, “Partner, I will give it a shot.” But only after I was given an assurance that I will be allowed to continue earning my bread and butter as one of the country’s most popular television-show guests, my mate Muneeb insisting on playing the host.
I realised I didn’t just share Nawaz Sharif’s initials, I also shared his formula where the sport, unlike in the case of those masters of the reverse swing, had to be tampered with a commitment to serve the people. But you must give me credit for staying loyal to my profession. It was a bargain between two men, both of whom had had the honour of opening for the school XI — same school, if I may add as matter of fact, even if it finds them grumbling a bit more.
They actually grumble a lot, I notice now. There was this mischievous someone who was humming ‘Main Juma Juma Janj Naal’ and said that over all these Fridays, time had taught me how to be, in some capacity, a part of all celebrations and parties. The other day someone said, “This Sethi goes with all kind of furniture and not necessarily with that which originates from Chiniot.” Losers, I would call them. Listen people, the power of speech can turn it around for you. I did talk to the court and it allowed me to do my duty by this country at the PCB. I talked to the team and they did wonderfully well in the Caribbean. I can talk and convince the most unyielding.
If we had to stick to the original arrangement where the PCB boss was required to have a nomination from the presidency, I would have talked to the Man on the Hill and I am sure Mr Zardari would have sent me post-haste to Gaddafi. This is the power of having good speech at your command. I will tell you about it in detail one of these days, so keep a close watch on IMF. In short, this is all due to the power of being a neutral journalist offering himself to selfless causes.
You too, take care. — NS Junior