Among the myriad promises the current federal government has failed to deliver is one pledge that the government did not commit to but has delivered in spades. I am talking about the federal administration providing us with therapy, albeit in the form of laughter. Whenever we, the people, have been at the edge of bucking under crippling inflation, the government has provided us with a moment of undiluted merriment, always at its own expense.
In times of crisis, and what is Pakistan in if not a deep existential, democratic and economic crisis, comedians come to the rescue of their people, providing much needed merriment to take away our troubles for a moment or two. The government, however, decided to step in and provide laughter itself, in the process promoting harmony among citizens, taking away jobs from comedians as it has from nearly everyone else. We may have neither faith nor discipline but damned if we are not united in our misery.
Last year, Faisal Vawda selflessly decided to make us laugh when he accused Dr Musadik Malik, a PhD, of being a physician to a Gulf royal family. Where else but in a social welfare state will a prominent ruling party member prove himself to be a clown just to help his people out of depression. This is not Mr Vawda’s first attempt at comedy. After elite forces had successfully thwarted an attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi, Vawda showed up in a bulletproof vest and armed with what he said was a Glock to “defend his country”. A more unpunctual, but well-meaning, well-dressed and well-to-do vigilante had not been seen before. Take that, Batman.
In another incident, a hilarious government announcement of Pakistan being one of the cheapest countries tied in with yet another fuel price hike. We all laughed our way to the shady hospitals where we had made deals to sell our kidneys in order to keep our bikes and cars running.
Never one to let tradition slide, PTI has earlier this week launched a hilarious report on digital trends, just as it finalised deals on the costliest purchase of LNG. In three years, PTI has provided us with plenty of laughter but this, ladies and gentlemen, was the jewel in the crown. Compiled by what we can only assume are people with the IQ of a cabbage, the report went on to report the origins and details of “anti-state” trends. The “deep analysis” had about as much depth as the puddle a newborn would create without a diaper. Oh PTI, how do we laugh at thee? Let me count the ways.
First off, were the graphs. Leave aside that they had probably been lifted straight off Tweepsmap, where the data was compiled from. Forget about the fact that they seemed to have been copy pasted by someone who wielded the mouse with a hoof instead of a hand. Pay attention to the fact that the content too seemed to have been finalised by someone who is getting the pay of a grade 22 officer but does not have the ability to read what has been put before him/her. The gender graph featured men, women and businesses/groups. The mind boggles at the possibilities the unveiling of this new gender has unleashed. Will we have toilets for businesses right alongside men’s and women’s? Will weddings be segregated into three sections? Will we have to issue new ID cards and passports? Will rishta aunties recalibrate their trade?
The age graph had a section for a group aged “10-23”. Let’s concentrate on the ludicrous assertion that tweens of the country are engaging in digital warfare under the behest of anti-state elements. It’s the perfect script for a horror movie.
Another infographic informs us that most of these anti-state handles also follow ICC. This is a win, whichever way we look at it. All traitors, great and small, gathered together at the altar of cricket with patriots, all united in their hopelessness. Brings a tear to the eye.
Finally, the report shows us page upon page of….. screenshots. Dozens of them. Spare a thought for the poor intern or low-paid individual who slaved away at his system, gathering tweets from known pro-PTI accounts and copy pasting away. Even Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ex-wife Reham Khan was not spared from the relentlessness of his dexterous fingers and numb mind.
Now, you may be inclined to think of this report as a loss. Our simple minds and lack of perception are to blame for this unimaginative conclusion. Remember the old adage, to think not of what the country can do for you but what you can do for the country. In this case, think not of how someone gets highly paid to embarrass the government, but that you too can get highly paid to embarrass the government, given the right connections.
And a sufficient lack of grey matter.