I am also a four-star Pakistani General but I am not on Twitter. I am not cut out for 280 characters; 90 seconds is more like my thing. I am more of a talker than a doer. I do whatever I am not supposed to do. After all, where’s the fun if you don’t break the rules.
Since I like to talk, I am going to make you travel back in time to a glorious period in Pakistan’s history. Those were the best years, what I like to call the heydays of Pakistan. So, let me take this opportunity to share with you a page from my childhood.
When we had it all
My childhood was different from yours. Today, we are going through a very difficult time. Of course, Pakistan was not like this until we, the Pakistan Army, literally took the reins of the country in our hands. General Ayub Khan’s first military coup in 1958 had paved the way for a glorious decade. It was Pakistan’s own version of the Swinging Sixties. I will always remember this time as the golden era of the country. We had jets, TV, movies, mosques, and technology that no one could imagine acquiring.
This is my doctrine, the Bajwa Doctrine: you construct a glorious past based on your own truth (or lies) and you live in that past.
The Bajwa Doctrine
I was born in 1959 and I had seen everything by the age of four. I grew up fast. Let me share a few things with you. “In 1962, PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) was the best airline in the world. PIA and Japan Airlines were the two airlines in the entire Asia flying a jet engine aircraft 707. India, Taiwan, Singapore – they were all flying the Dakota.” It’s a different matter that our western neighbour’s Air India had entered the jet age on 21 February 1960, when it took its delivery of the first Boeing 707. But what do I know, I was only a year-old at the time.
“In 1964, we had our television. India got it in 1978.” It’s a commonly known fact that television came to India in 1959 but history is what you make of it, ours in the alternative.
“In 1964, we had the electric train flying from Lahore to Sahiwal. I have seen Pakistan’s heydays.” Don’t ask me for the selfies with the flying electric train now, those were not the selfie days.
“You had the cinema halls full; you had the mosques full as well.” It was houseful everywhere. The best movies were shown in our cinema halls; did I mention Indian movies were still shown in Pakistan? Forgive me, I forgot.
“You know The Beatles, they came to Karachi, they landed in Karachi.” But this is what actually happened. On 8 June 1964, The Beatles arrived in Karachi for a short while. They were en route to Hong Kong and Australia. So, you see, in a way they came and they left. But don’t mind if I sounded like they had come, stayed, and performed in Pakistan. Moreover, it wasn’t just The Beatles who had ‘landed’ in Pakistan. There were a gazillion international celebrities who flew from our airspace in the 1960s. Indeed, those were the heydays of Pakistan.
“Jacqueline Kennedy travelled on PIA. President Lyndon B. Johnson came to Karachi on PIA. So that was the standard of this country.” Did I forget that the mesmerising Jacqueline did not travel on PIA but on the Pakistan Air Force plane in March 1962? Lyndon Johnson, vice-president of the United States in 1967, was on board Air Force Two and not the PIA when he landed in Karachi.
That was the standard of my country Pakistan. Such were the 1960s that by the end of it all, the East wing wanted to break free. They eventually did. We have come a long way from military coups selecting regimes instead of electing civilian governments. I am not in charge of Pakistan, but I am THE in-charge. This is the standard of my country now. We are once again living the glorious days and the end of difficult times is near.
This is part of an occasional, irreverent take on Pakistani issues by General Twitter. The real name of the authors will not be disclosed because they don’t want to be taken too seriously. Views are personal.