By Nadeem F. Paracha
August 12th, 2014
Special Dawn.Com correspondent Sameena Yahya brings you live updates from the ‘long marches’ planned today in Lahore and Islamabad:
... Yes, Khalid, what can you tell us about the situation in Lahore?
Well, Sameena, the situation in Lahore is pretty tense. There are containers everywhere and cops and Rangers and people are dying, children are starving and women are wailing!
Khalid, can you tell us any specific details about the on-ground conditions there?
Well, Sameena, the government today claimed to have contained the situation ... but what can I say, Sameena, people are dying, children are starving and women are wailing...
Okay, Khalid, so tell us a bit more about the police operation in Lahore today...
This is a conspiracy, Sameena, a big conspiracy! People are dying, children are starving and women are wailing...
Take it easy, Khalid. Please calm down. Give us some news of the people who have gathered there for Tahirul Qadri and his party, PAT’s rally.
Sameena, what can I say. Today our cameraman, Shakir, and I visited a group of PAT workers camped at the site of the rally and all I saw was sorrow, grief, pain and utter anger!
Anger against whom Khalid?
Anger against the government, the police, the Americans, the Indians, and the people of the Ivory Coast!
Yes, and against Tutsi and Hutu clans of Rwanda as well, Sameena.
What are you talking about, Khalid?
What else can one talk about these days, Sameena? People are dying, children are starving and women are wailing ...”
Khalid, remember you are a journalist, so please try to remain calm and objective.
Calm? Calm? I am a Muslim first, a proud Arab and...
Arab? But you are a Pakistani, Khalid.
Yes, but my ancestors were Arabs.
Right. Of course. Anyway, now, let's stick to the topic. Tell us how many people have gathered for the rally so far?
Not rally, Sameena, a march.
Yes, I mean march
Not march, Sameena. Laang march.
Yes, laang march, I mean, long march.
Laang march, Sameena, Laang march!
Okay, Khalid, if you insist. Now please tell our readers about the interviews you did with some of the people there.
We met this old woman who had come on foot all the way from Ottawa.
Really? From Ottawa in Canada? So what did she say?
She was abusing and cursing the government, the Americans, the Indians and the Buddhists of Ceylon.
Yes, she was.
Did she know any Urdu?
No, she spoke Arabic.
Is she a Canadian-Arab?
So she knew Urdu as well then?
Why not? Was she born in an Arab country and raised In Canada?
No, she was born in Pakistan and raised in Canada. She’s never been to an Arabic country. But she says she does go to Dubai off and on during the shopping festivals there.
I see. And she is a PAT supporter?
Actually she is a PTI supporter. A big Imran Khan fan.
Okay. So what did she tell you?
She said every Pakistani gathered here wanted to crush America, crush India, crush Uganda! And Najam Sethi too.
Not the extremists?
They are our brothers, Sameena.
What about the sisters?
Never mind. Ask her what she thinks about those who are bombing mosques, shrines, markets and...
Lies, Sameena! They are really nice guys, standing up to the Americans, the Indians, and the Mongols!
Yes, Sameena, Mongols.
What are you talking about, Khalid?
No, what are you talking about?
No, excuse me!
Khalid, we are reporting live for a respected website …
Website? Internet is a western conspiracy to brainwash and corrupt young Pakistani minds!
But you work for one!
So, now can we have some real news from you then? Can you tell us if the government is planning to stop the people from marching and then joining Imran Khan’s rally in Islamabad?
Damn. Why didn't you tell me?
Err ... you're the reporter, Khalid.
Oh. But, damn them, nevertheless! This is a well thought-out plan to crush the rights of those who want to save Pakistan. I’m telling you, Sameena, Najam Sethi is behind all this. I can't take it anymore...
Khalid, what are you doing? Why are you tearing off your shirt?
This is an outrage, Salma.
My name's Sameena.
Right, Parveen! I just want to tell readers, I can't take this injustice anymore! Crush America! Crush India! Crush Iran!
But Iran is a Muslim country, Khalid.
Then crush Nepal! Enough is enough!
Khalid? Khalid, are you there? We seem to have lost contact with our Lahore correspondent. Anyway, let's now talk to our correspondent, Bashir Ahmed, reporting from the where PTI is about to start its long march in Islamabad. Yes, Bashir.
You can call me Sameena. What is the situation like there?
Pretty bad, Sameena. People are dying, children are starving and women are wailing!
My God! Why? Did they clash with the military troops posted there?
No Sameena. Imran has pulled his left calf muscle.
So, I tell you, Sameena, this is a conspiracy by the Elders of Zion funding Godless multinationals and pharmaceutical companies against PTI! This is an outrage.
Can we be a tad more objective, Nazeer?
Right, Wazir. Any statement by Imran at the moment?
Yes, he has blamed Najam Sethi and Misbahul Haq for his pulled calf muscle.
Misbah, the Pakistan cricket captain?
No, Misbah, the Pakistan Kabaddi champion. Of course, Misbah the Pakistan cricket captain, Sameena!
You don’t have to get rude, Bashir. I’m really not that much into sports. Tell us more.
A group of young PTI kids are now burning the effigy of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Are they chanting any slogans?
Yes. I’ll bring my phone near them so you can hear the slogans as well …
Traitor, paid journalist, anti-Pakistan, oh you bastaaa our Khan greatest tsunami march wipe out corruption revolution Inquilab in 90 days shut up your face ….!
But Nawaz is not a journalist …
He isn’t. Those slogans were for me. Hehe.
So they are burning Nawaz’s effigy but abusing journalists?
Any statement given by Nawaz yet?
Not yet. But a press statement from the Information Ministry says that the PM is enjoying mangoes at his Saudi residence in Lahore.
Lahore is in Pakistan, Bashir.
Damn. Why wasn’t I told?
It seems neither was the Information Ministry.
You are right. Because the press statement was also in Arabic. In fact I have it with me here. Its heading says: Bress Statement of Al-Brime Khalifah Minister Al-Bakistania wal Shiekh Nawaz bin Sharif-ul-Jeddah Marhaba Marhaba Emirates Airline EK-450 Is Ready for Boarding …
That’s a very strange statement, Bashir.
This is a very strange government, Tania.
Right, Nouseen. Another very interesting thing is happing here. Some folks are now raising pro-Zardari slogans …
Naaa. Just joking. Hehe.
Bashir, please be serious. Can you talk to some people there?
Yes. I have with me an old woman who has come on foot all the way from London. She says she wants to crush Najam Sethi and Nawaz Sharif and colour her hair purple like Shireen Mazari.
Wow. Can you give her the phone so we can hear what she is saying?
Yes. Here …
Recounting, rigging, corruption, tsunami, revolution, people are dying, children are starving and women are wailing…
Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com