Former president and now a member of the National Assembly Asif Ali Zardari has arranged another meeting at his Islamabad mansion. Present are his children Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Aseefa, his sister Faryal, and his lawyers Aitzaz Ahsan, Sardar Latif Khosa and Farooq Naik.
A visibly agitated Zardari brandishes copies of the day’s Dawn and Express Tribune newspapers, “What was our media cell doing? What was the head of our media cell doing? The top headline is about Imran Khan about to become prime minister, and there you have that headline that non-bailable arrest warrants were issued for me in that so-called money laundering case.
“We are spending top money on this department and it is headed by Akram Shaheedi, a retired officer of information group who has held various important posts in the country and abroad. He is a former federal information secretary and has been press secretary to prime minister. And this what I get?
“Till now, I was saying that our social media was a disaster. Now we have this!
“Did you see how, not just Karachi but also the entire Sindh reacted angrily after Imran threatened that there will be ruthless, across-the-board accountability. There was a power breakdown that left most of Sindh dark. It was a powerful statement from nature that the scions of our Great and Eternal Leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto cannot be questioned … owning Pakistan is their birthright alone.
“God bless, my Bilawal is such a good boy that he did not budge an inch from my instruction. You saw it on screen, when voting was underway, former assembly speaker Ayaz Sadiq made a last-minute attempt to convince him to vote for Shahbaz. But no, I had told him that we would abstain from voting because supporting Shahbaz Sharif is an insult to his father. Asif Zardari does not forget insults!
“I am sure Imran Khan is intelligent enough to get the message. Imagine if we had voted for Shahbaz. What he got is176 votes. Now Shahbaz got 96, which is 82 of his own and 14 from Maulana Fazalur Rahman’s party. Our 53 would have made it 149. Right!”
The youngest in room, Aseefa blurts out, “Dad, still it would be 27 short!”
Her father, flashes his trademark smile, “No, my sweetheart, I have sent a message to Imran that he owes his seat to Asif Zardari … didn’t you hear your brother telling this to Imran as I had instructed?
“Let me digress … as the American talk about covering all the bases. Aitzaz, with your contacts in the liberal circles and all that, I am making you in-charge of our party’s liberals contact group. Besides going all out with contacts, you will also serve their favorite beverages and entertainment. I will ask our accountant to open a special party account for your new assignment. They are our best asset because they hate Imran.
“Oh, by the way, see why the former Nawaz league prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi lost. He was over-confident. He ordered six bulletproof Mercedes Maybachs, each for Rs.180 million import duty free and BMW 760Li sedans with the highest levels of BR9 ballistic protection. Fine. But they got delivered to the prime minister’s house after he left, instead of his own house. Poor planning, I would say. Asif Zardari would have never made such a mistake… they would be at Bilawal House Karachi! And now Imran says he will auction them all. This man is thankless!
“Did you hear, he told the assembly that there will be no Musharraf-like NRO … but then he is accommodating all those Baloch … didn’t we join him when he wanted a Baloch as Senate speaker … I am Baloch … I need to remind him that the Zardari tribe is Baloch too. I should be part of this Baloch care program.
“I will do it myself. We need to tell him to remember that we have 20 Senate seats plus our deputy speaker …
“Oh, yes, first thing, I am sending Sherry Rehman to Washington, D.C. to get the lobbying started with the United States government … already you see Theresa May has forgotten her friendship with our beloved Bibi … our Benazir … and in her phone call she assured Imran that she will go after Pakistani money launderers in Britain.
“Aitzaz, Latif Khosa and Farooq you cannot trust anyone. Who knows that Malik Riaz may start talking too …we can’t have the Bilawal House Lahore gift case opened … How about we suggest a Sindh care scheme to Imran. He only has the urban Sindh vote … drastic times call for drastic action,” expressed Zardari.