President Asif Ali Zardari has given instructions to FIA to hunt down Pakistanis writing jokes about him. The FIA has already begun its witch-hunt, searching the Internet for the ‘criminals’. Prime Minister Gilani wants no newspaper to write anything about him without checking first with his press secretary. A ‘dictator’ like Musharraf never did any of this. This is the fake democratic leadership of our country where the President is busy with the jokes on him when the country is facing hostile action from Zardari’s own allies in Washington. What can Pakistanis do if President Zardari gives them opportunities to make jokes? Who told him to alert the entire media by disappearing from an official dinner to go celebrate with his former girlfriends at a private party? Who is setting him up?
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—President Zardari might have a funny side but it’s obviously reserved for Americans like Sarah Palin and not for Pakistanis. Before he left for his U.S. tour (which he camouflaged as a U.N. tour to fool our friends in Beijing who expected the Pakistani President to make his first visit to China), Mr. Zardari gave stern instructions to the sleuths at Federal Investigations Agency, FIA, to hunt down Pakistanis responsible for circulating jokes about Mr. Zardari through emails and text messages.
Mr. Zardari was especially angry at someone who faked his signature on the Visitors’ Book at the Mausoleum of Pakistan’s Founding Father, the Quaid-e-Azam, in Karachi, where Mr. President landed on 14 August to pay his respects.
That email was a particularly nasty job where Mr. Zardari was shown to have supposedly wrote God as ‘goad’ and strength as ‘strent’.
So angry is Mr. Zardari with those poking fun at him that no less than the official news agency, the APP, was told to release a story to all Pakistani newspapers where an unnamed official (we suspect it’s either Husain Haqqani or Sheri Rehman) denied the President ever wrote those words and denounced the jokes at President’s expense. There was also a dire warning to all fun-loving Pakistanis: the cyber crime wing of the FIA has been instructed to hunt down those circulating jokes on him through emails or mobile phones. Several prominent journalists in Islamabad have already received calls from secret numbers where the caller on the other side inquired about journalists and people opposed to Mr. Zardari, since according to FIA sleuths only declared critics of the President could do this. [Tip to FIA honchos: Don't forget to check Naheed Khan, Makhdoom Amin Faheem and Enver Baig's cell phones for a secret war-chest of Zardari jokes!]
Here I’d like to remind those Pakistanis who voted for Mr. Zardari and his party [only 40% of Pakistanis vote, and most of them are illiterate and they vote at gunpoint by their feudal lords, so I'm not optimistic they are reading this] that President Pervez Musharraf, the last of the great Pakistani statesmen, despite his many follies, and a military ‘dictator’, spent 90% of his time in government with an extremely hostile media and one of the nastiest character-assassination campaigns ever seen in Pakistan, through SMS messages, emails, Internet, newspapers, and television channels. What did Musharraf do? He allowed more private TV channels. And he never complained, except for the last few months of his office, and even then he never reacted to jokes about him and character-assassination but other more serious political criticism.
As for these fake democrats who are in power today in Pakistan thanks to a British-American ‘deal’, Prime Minister Gilani issued an order that no media organization can publish anything about him without checking first with his press secretary. And now President Zardari wants to ban all jokes about him. A ‘dictator’ like Musharraf never issued such ridiculous orders.
So what if some Pakistanis joke about Mr. Zardari? After all, he does have a colorful past and his unlikely rise to power beats even the most melodramatic Indian films with absurd story lines. And what to say of Mr. Zardari’s knack for saying and doing things that make it easy for those who want to crack a joke or two at his expense. Take for example of his flimsy failed flirt attempt with Sarah Palin, or his sudden disappearance from an Iftar-dinner reception for Pakistanis to attend a private-room party with his girlfriends at an upscale Manhattan restaurant in New York City.
In the spirit of free speech and free jokes, let me conclude with this latest one on Mr. Zardari:
“Just imagine Sarah Palin divorces her current husband and marries Asif Zardari.
Then Palin becomes Vice President of USA.
Then Zardari kills Palin, changes the Will which henceforth says, ‘Zardari will become the President of USA if I die.’
And eventually Zardari becomes President of USA six months after Palin’s death.
Bilawal ends up changing his name to Bilawal Palin-Zardari.”
By AHMED QURAISHI