Of the 430 votes cast in the election for the 13th president of Pakistan in the joint sitting of the Senate and the newly elected national and provincial assemblies — together known as the electoral college of Pakistan, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of his eponymous faction of the Jamiat Ulemae Islam (JUI-F) and chief of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), bagged 131 votes as candidate of the opposition alliance, while Asif Zardari’s favorite candidate Sen. Aitzaz Ahsan garnered only 81, whereas the winner, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Dr. Arifur Rehman Alvi secured 212 votes.
Candidate Fazlur Rehman, however, was member of none of the houses and watched his defeat from the visitor’s gallery.
The Maulana, who had spent more than a decade and a half in luxurious public housing, the perks of the cabinet position housing not excluded, was certainly distraught.
Carrying shattered dreams, he silently exited from the visitors’ gallery and got driven straight to his temporary residence, the farmhouse of Sen. Muhammad Talha Mahmood, who his party’s deputy parliamentary leader in the Senate.
On way, he was overwhelmed with thoughts. If late July was bad, when not only his own party, but also the parties of his benefactors Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif were defeated, but early September was even worse. He recalled all his daydreams of taking salute on September 6, the Defense Day of Pakistan military parade. He could have used his authority to eject Mamnoon Hussain in time to stand on the parade dais.
Arriving at the farmhouse, a bout of momentary sanity prevailed. Instead of punching the trunk of one of the trees, he trundled to the pen holding the farms’ goats. Upon setting his eyes at his captive audience, a speech was due … a truly unburdening of the heart.
The goats mistaking his mustard turban for a bouquet of sunflowers to be savored as snacks stared intently at his face. For the Maulana it was an invitation to address those hungry for his words of wisdom.
He declared, “O my dear people indeed you are as simpleminded as my voters of the past. I still cannot comprehend what got hold of them, certainly some evil eye was cast upon them that they pondered before casting their votes and did not vote correctly … I mean not as obediently as it is and was expected of them.
“O my dear people never trust a politician! Yes, the very same Asif Zardari, who on March 12 this year, diverted Sindh government funds to buy votes when he needed to get his lackey Salim Mandviwalla elected as deputy chairman of the Senate … not just that he even cut a deal with Imran Khan and got his party’s votes cast for Imran’s candidate for Senate chairman, Sadiq Sanjrani.
“O my dear people, what about Asif Zardari … He said that Aitzaz would be remembered in history. He added that their friends should realize that his victory would be tantamount to the victory of all liberal forces. … What … just because he knows how to drink … and what about Mamnoon Hussain, who lived in that house for five years and all he knew was chewing paan. Where was their liberalism then? Tell me!
“O my people let me digress, Mamnoon despite all his faults has at least deprived this Alvi of the honor taking the Defense Day salute which was my mine. Mamnoon will not hand over the office to him till three days after the September 6 parade. May God bless him.
“O my dear people, God says in the Quran … Surat Al-Kahf … the 30th verse, ‘Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – indeed, We will not allow to be lost the reward of any who did well in deeds’.
“O my people, I did the most correct things. In 2007, I invited then American Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, to a dinner where I requested for her support in becoming the Prime Minister of Pakistan and expressed my desire to visit America as the representative of the people of Pakistan. What … only to hear Asif Zardari making his baby, Bilawal issue a statement that Aitzaz was ahead of other contenders in terms of merit? Where are my merits?
“O my people isn’t this truly shameful. Indeed, I will pray for our dear and beloved Nawaz Sharif that instead of nominating his loyal bother or even his younger son-in-law, husband of his daughter Asma, Ali Dar, the son of Ishaq Dar, he preferred me as the presidential candidate of the opposition alliance.
“O my people, this Dr. Alvi is a dentist … don’t you see the pavements of Karachi teeming with operators calling themselves dentists. What experience does he have of living in public housing? I lived in one for more than decade and a half. I know that the present 2018-19 budget for that house is only Rs.1.03 billion. Indeed, with our opposition majority in the Senate, I could have gotten it doubled.
“O my people God has His ways! I used to think that the house has been designed by a Pathan who had adopted the name Louis … but God forbid, it has been designed by Jew, not a Khan, but Louis Kahn. Of course, Imran’s people deserve such places! How could I live there!
“O my people. I am a great scholar listen to me. Hasn’t God said in Suratul Baqarah, verse 178, ‘O you who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you … and … etc.’
“If I would have won the house, I would have taken revenge. I am told that in 2008 as president, Asif Ali Zardari got a zoo built in that President’s House. I would have had his deer, pheasants and other birds such as pigeons for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“O my people, let us all join in prayer and ask the Lord, ‘O Angels, why did you deprive me of public housing again?” an inconsolable Maulana Fazlur Rehman blurted falling over the fence seeking to embrace the goats.