This week, Pakistani men are devastated by the revelation that their favourite ‘Halima baji’ from Ertuğrul wears a bra, women are crying buckets at the thought of their glowing, English-speaking prime minister, Imran Khan, being removed. Sad days are coming, they say. If Esra Bilgiç, who played Halima in the Turkish series Dirilis: Ertuğrul, isn’t ‘allowed’ by Pakistani fans to model for Victoria’s Secret, there are Imran Khan supporters who can’t allow anyone to take away their ‘kaptaan’. Even if that means fighting the very people that once installed Khan.
There are those who are flying from out of nowhere only to tell Pakistan, ‘I stand with Imran Khan’ but more important are those ready to lose it all just to be ‘behind you, skipper’. Ever since the no-confidence motion bomb was dropped, every hour is gham (sad) hour, every minute the gham multiplied for the youth brigade of Prime Minister Imran Khan. They cry to convince you how wrong all this ‘siyaasat‘ is, they are angry because no one cares more than them about the future of the country, especially when they live abroad while you live in Pakistan.
‘Doctors’ pour in
Now, this is a story all about the ‘how’. How the life of Imran Khan’s fans was turned upside down. Yes, theirs is a story more entertaining than The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990). A doctor from Australia can’t sleep anymore because ‘mulk ka kya banaega‘, for her survival looks impossible as ‘chors’ and ‘dakus’ are on the verge of making a comeback in Pakistan. “Here [in Australia] people like Imran Khan a lot,” she says, fighting back tears. But what she won’t tell you is that Australia really doesn’t care. Or does it? Moved by Dr Australia’s ‘emotional atyachar’ is Dr Guyana, who insists that he lives and breathes for Pakistan, it’s just that he doesn’t live there. But hey, long-distance patriotism is the best form of patriotism. “The desires of the youth are being trampled,” even his voice shakes more than the milk shaker.
'Actually, Muje nend nae arahi..'
What would be of this abroad tigress if Khan doesn't survive🥲😄@saeedsk143 @qureshik74 @nailainayat @mazdaki @Beeper9999 @A_ProudCivilian @Shafqat3232 @ShafiqAhmadAdv3 #BehindYourSkipper pic.twitter.com/iAKkja44Y4
— Junaid Khan (@JR_Wazeer) March 19, 2022
Not shaking from resolve, is an Imran Khan supporter who vowed to ‘sell everything and return to Naya Pakistan’. A doctor from the United States had promised to give up everything for Imran Khan, bring his money back to the country, and even ‘sell his house on the lake’. In his scrubs, he looked as committed as you look on the first day at the gym. The jheel wala US doctor’s one-way journey began in 2018, right after the first address of the PM Khan to the nation. But it turns out that the journey so far has resulted in Dr United States deleting his Twitter account. Will the real jheel wala doctor please stand up? The ‘skipper’ needs you now.
— Saleem (@memzarma) May 16, 2019
Not to worry though, the hired actor has it all covered. Sometimes she poses as an overseas Imran Khan fan lecturing mortal Pakistanis on how there is no inflation because everyone is lucky to wear “branded clothes”. And the next minute, the same actor becomes a local aunty, narrating how a vegetable vendor would give her free dhaniya and tamatar without complaining about poverty because the vendor believes: “Imran Khan is the last hope.” The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has now perfected the art of making things out of nothing, in case you forgot ‘Senator Tony Booker’ who was going gaga over Khan being a selected prime minister. The Senator who never was.
Imran Khan between ‘nappies’
Moving from doctors to engineers. The youth brigade is ready to dive in front of tanks, dodge bullets, even if only on Twitter. They vow to hunt down those who are behind the move to put down the Imran Khan government. Even if that means running a social media campaign against the army, with whom they are unhappy because they aren’t as ‘neutral’. This is the same lot who, for more than three years, cried that there is no involvement of the army in Pakistani politics and is today crying why there is no involvement.
This time everyone’s work is cut out. Ruling members of the national assembly are pouring their hearts out on Twitter Spaces about how PM Imran Khan is facing a no-confidence move because he is not letting some ‘institutes’ indulge in corruption. The same MP also took a dig at Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto, calling him ‘transgender’ and then referring to Islamabad High Court Chief Justice as ‘pharaoh’. Then there is a special assistant to the prime minister who is busy inventing his own Punjabi-English dictionary. He called the dissenting MP a political dalla (pimp), while two days later PM Khan called himself their father. Now how does that work? No one knows how any of these definitions will impact the PM’s Office in the current political turmoil.
The country is now stuck between 3N’s — nappy, neutral, and no-confidence. ‘Nappy’ of the Khan-government which the establishment was changing for the last three years, according to allies. Neutral, which the prime minister says, is only an animal, because, according to him, humans can’t be neutral. And ‘no-confidence’, which the dissenting and opposition parliamentarians say PM Khan has lost the majority in the house. But the PM insists that his rallies prove he’s still popular and is confident not to resign.
The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.
(Edited by Srinjoy Dey)