The progeny of Mian Mohammad Sharif, the self-made millionaire, father of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, are gathered at 180 H Model Town Lahore.
The ‘house’ is actually a seven palace-like dwellings located in this well-planned suburban community that took pride in being a self-sustained and resident-funded operation.
Besides the still free patriarch Shahbaz Sharif, there is his niece Maryam Nawaz’s son Junaid Safdar, Shahbaz’s sons, Hamza, a former parliament member himself, and Salman.
Hamza was once touted as the ruler-in-waiting, and even Asif Zardari, when signing an agreement with Nawaz Sharif had stated that he would like to see his son Bilawal and the Sharif heir Hamza to take over the reins and reign in turn.
Today, however, the chosen one is Junaid Safdar, son of the much-touted heir to her father’s crown, Maryam and her husband, Capt. (ret.) Mohammad Safdar Awan. Both of his parents are presently residents of Islamabad’s Adiala Jail.
The polo playing young man, who like Imran Khan and several other influential politicians of various hues is a product of the country’s premier school Aitchison College, and currently studying government and politics at Durham University in the U.K.
Junaid fits the narrative in more ways than one, not just a victim of the country’s politicians’ favorite whipping boy, the ‘establishment’, but also as the recipient of the kingly genes where sexually transmitted democracy is considered a norm even by the self-thought liberals and the ostensibly educated.
“O Abba, I take after your noble example, how my father stands with his older brother, Uncle Nawaz. I fully endorse our cousin’s son for this crucial role. The victimhood narrative fits him fully and our party can garner the sympathy vote through him.
“Let us not care if our friend President Asif Zardari says that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and get Junaid the name that identifies him more closely to the Sharif brand,” expressed Hamza.
“May God bless you my dear son. May you be the blessed by your grandfather, our Abbaji, you have spoken well. I am sure everyone in this room agrees with Hamza’s suggestion, but the thing needs a little discussion. Should we add just the ‘Nawaz’, after all our party in called PML-N, where the N stands for Nawaz, or we go with ‘Nawaz Sharif’?” asks Shahbaz Sharif.
“I agree this is a bit tricky with us because for Asif Zardari it was easy just adding the Bhutto as middle name for all three of his children, but for us, we have to decide if the brand ‘Nawaz’ or ‘Nawaz Sharif’ will fare better,” offered Salman.
“Chotay Nana, my younger grandfather, my parents have great love and respect for you, and of course you have stood every moment for the family, what would you say if I took my father’s clan name of Awan. He has always told me that the Awan tribe is perhaps the most heavily recruited tribe for the Pakistan Army.
“In this way, we can get some military folks’ votes too, even the retired servicemen,” asked Junaid.
“Yes, this a good idea too but right now we are only a week away from voting and we have to get you to address constituencies NA-127 (Lahore-V), from where your mother had planned to contest before her disqualification; NA-132 (Lahore-X) from where I am standing; and in NA-59 (Rawalpindi-II), where our now incarcerated leader Raja Qamarul Islam is challenging our turncoat, our former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.
“Junaid, we need you to lead the charge!
“I would suggest adding ‘Nawaz Sharif’ as your middle name. Yes, if Asif Zardari has Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, we have Junaid Nawaz Sharif Safdar!” said Shahbaz pounding the table hard.
As they talked, they could not help but see the ticker tape on TV screens repeating the news that the Islamabad High Court had put off appeals by Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Capt. Mohammad Safdar against their conviction in the Avenfiled reference until after the elections.
“I agree we need to move very fast. Uncles Hamza and Salman have the right contacts to get new posters done and displayed and I will practice my name, Junaid Nawaz Sharif Safdar.
“Let us all raise our Coke cans and toast to our good fortunes. Long live the rule of sexually transmitted democracy,” exulted the newly minted Junaid Nawaz Sharif Safdar.