I Always Make My Salt Halal

Saudi Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman.jpg

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arriving from China after attending Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, heads straight for his office.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal, Prime Minister’s Special adviser Tariq Fatemi who accompanied him there, have joined the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisor (NSA) as well as his advisor on the foreign policy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Minister for Finance, Commerce & Industries Ishaq Dar, Minister of Mass-media Broadcasting, and National Heritage, Law, Justice & Human Rights Pervez Rashid, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif, being alerted to this emergency meeting.

The Prime Minister takes a breather and orders two glasses of lassi with double khoya for himself.

The first glass being bottomed up gets Mian Sahib into the swing.

You know that I just landed after the attending the SCO meeting in China. Ahsan Iqbal, you remember they saying SCO, SCO, so many times! What is this SCO?

Mian Sahib, it means the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Really! I thought that it was about Sahiwal Cement Organization, or something they say exists, the Sugar Cartel Organization.


With the second glass of lassi going its way, the Prime Minister says that when they invited me they told me that I will be present there as an observer. But when I arrive at the meeting, no one is there to tell me what I have to observe. He he he … what I see is a big folder in front of me. And I am asking myself, they want me to be an observer, but they did not provide any telescope or observation equipment! He he he. You know our Chinese brothers!

When I arrive in Islamabad, I see on the TV screen in the lounge that Aizaz, our Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said he was surprised to learn in news reports that Pakistan country had been included in a coalition of 34 Muslim countries against terror. He he he. He even told the TV that he wasn’t even consulted about the inclusion in the Saudi-led coalition.

I mean, Aizaz said “surprised” … he he he … may be he is forgetting our country’s history.

My beloved hero, Shaheed General Mohammad Ziaul Haq joined the coalition with President Ronald Reagan when Russia, I mean it was USSR called then, entered Afghanistan. Dar Sahib, you recall, how much money and arms were coming to us!

Then, I should not be mentioning his name so early in the morning, and in this office, Pervez Musharraf became coalition partner under President George Bush, OK … I am told that for this Bush, we have to mention George W. Bush, and not his father.

This reminds me that Imran Khan has to be told to stop crying about inherited posts. So isn’t this George W. Bush, the son of President Bush!

Today, our Chaudhri Nisar Ali Khan is not in town. His interior ministry should do it, or Pervez Sahib, your information ministry. What I heard that some people are talking of some secret deal on the coalition. What secret deal! I knew it. Isn’t that enough?

When our General Raheel Sharif visited our brotherly Kingdom in November, he discussed it there. Ha ha ha … so much secret.

And I am told that some are saying that Iran may not be happy with this coalition. I am third time Prime Minister of Pakistan; I know how to deal with people and countries. I will make Iran happy. For the next Muharram, I will personally invite President Hassan Rouhani to observe Muharram as my guest!

You know how kind the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is toward my family and me. And you know that I am not the kind that I will eat someone’s salt and then forget. As they say in Urdu, Namak Haram Nahi, Namak Halal Huon. No. Not Nawaz Sharif! How many years I have eaten their salt!

So whenever I go to meet His Majesty King Salman Bin AbdulAziz Al Saud, the King of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, I do not take any translator with me. It is a talk of hearts!

When I was there during the dark Musharraf years, I learned to say yes in Arabic. It is very easy to remember, like we are asking people their naam.

And I am putting it to good use. So whenever, I am with His Majesty, anything he is saying, when he stops, I just say, “Naam Ya Sahib-e Jalalah.” You need to see the loving smile that comes on his face. God bless him.

His son Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince, who is also the Defense Minister wanted to form the coalition of 34 Muslim nations against terrorism in countries including Iraq, Syria, and, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan. Then who was I to say no, and break the young man’s heart.

Yes, he is only 31 years old. So why would I break the heart of a young man. When I met with the young prince, I said, “Naam Ya Sahib-e Jalalah.”

The Prince wanted it and it was agreed that the joint military operations  would be coordinated at a center in Riyadh. Honestly, If they would have asked, I would have proposed Rawalpindi and I would have requested for funds to build our new GHQ – big enough for 34 armies with shawarma centers and all that, and that would have made our army so happy with me. Let’s see the next time.

We would have arranged houbara bustard hunting for them on weekends too!

The meeting’s attendees chime the Prime Minister’s praise in chorus.

In way this coalition is also blessing for us. The Kingdom will pay us and this means we can afford to start more infrastructure projects. Dar Sahib can take care of this!

And I was upset when saw on the lounge TV set that our foreign ministry saying that Pakistan had been caught off guard by the announcement. They claim that they came to know about it through news reports. They were even saying that they would ask our ambassador General Assad Durrani to get details on it.

Don’t you think more is better than one? I am told that the American led coalition has 65 countries that are all engaged in the fight to defeat ISIS. Now, we are supplementing the Saudi commanded coalition of 34 Muslim countries. Just imagine the symbolic value of this.

You all remember that the last time we were asked to fight for the Saudis, in Yemen, our Parliament rejected Saudi Arabia’s request. So this time, I made sure that the coalition is launched before the Parliament even wakes up. He he he.

His third tumbler of lassi now empty, he declares that he would be calling Aizaz for a meeting after a couple of hours.

I will be very frank with him that if he again forgets about our love of His Majesty King Salman, I will immediately transfer him and post him in the Department of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony. Ha ha ha. Then everyone will be laughing at him. Instead of traveling to Paris and London and Washington, he will be dashing from some madrassah to some church to temple, wearing whatever costume they demand.

Of course, I will remind him that Nawaz Sharif Namak Haram Nahi, Namak Halal Huon.

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