Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is nursing his glass of lassi, which his favorite lassi-maker Boota brought for him along with the morning newspapers. However, it did not take much of discerning to note that the man was lacking the joie de vivre that just the sight of lassi bequeathed upon him. Instead, the glass had started flowing over, the overflow contributed by the abundance of tears being added to the bovine delicacy after he eyed the headline “PM house buffaloes auctioned off for Rs. 2.3 m.”
His daughter Maryam Nawaz Safdar and former information minister Maryam Aurangzeb who had entered the room to discuss some party matters, were stopped in their tracks upon seeing the perpetual leader’s more than moist eyes.
Maryam, the daughter, quickly embraced her sobbing father, who blurts out, “They are gone… no more. I cannot bear the pain from being the nation’s first buffaloes; now they will be tethered in some lowly places. Will their new owners give them air-conditioned sheds? Nestlé purified water to drink? Will they feed them the vitamin rich fodder? Will their new owners afford to employ three masseurs for them?
“Yes, only Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, three times prime minister of Pakistan, can understand their pain.
“Look at the TV… this [Pakistan cricket team captain] Sarfraz Ahmed says that he lost sleep for six days [during his team’s flop at the Asia Cup]… but does he fathom the pain my buffaloes are bearing right now and will bear till eternity… I doubt if even they have had a wink, what about sleep.
“May God protect our dearest [former finance minister] Ishaq Dar… how deftly he added their purchase and expenses to the federal budget… he put it under the category of providing for the acquisition and care of rare fauna. In fact, I did not know what fauna means so I asked him, ‘Dar Sahib, in what language do they call buffaloes as fauna?’ and he said that he was using a highly technical term to adjust to the needs of the budgetary language. God knows best! My dear daughter, you know that I have never argued with Dar Sahib because he is [younger daughter] Asma’s father-in-law.”
“Maryam, this is all Imran Khan drama. If he is so concerned about saving government money, he could have spared my buffaloes and ordered his servants to grow fodder for them on his Bani Gala land… if not his own land, then [railways minister] Shaikh Rashid [Ahmad] also has a farmhouse, which I don’t know why he calls it Freedom House because I once saw a video of it and it has pens full of several kinds of animals… they are not running free!
“I only hope that Imran does not get my buffaloes’ living quarters… I mean… I’ve heard it is called corral or may be shed… bulldozed. Maryam, when your [son] Junaid [Safdar] becomes prime minister, he can get the buffaloes living there again. God willing.
“Now that he has sold my buffaloes, people are telling Imran to use the proceeds for government hospitals so the poor people can get free medicines. This Rs. 2,302,000 that he got for my beauties is not even fifteen thousand [U.K.] pounds. Tell me how many tablets of Nurofen [the bestselling [British] brand in the over-the-counter pain relief] can he buy from this?”
His tears still flowing and the lassi continually losing its body, he turns to Maryam Aurangzeb, “Maryam, we have to contact this noble person Qalb Ali, who is said to be a resident of Jhangi Sayedan… you know this is just off Kashmir Highway in Islamabad. This man knows the value of greatness. He could not afford to buy all eight, but he paid Rs. 385,000 for one! I don’t know what acquisition price Dar Sahib had set for them in the budget, especially when he put them under the category of fauna.
“Maryam, this great man told the media that he continued bidding because of his affection for Nawaz Sharif… he also said ‘I will keep it as a symbol of Nawaz Sharif and our sister, Maryam Nawaz’. May God bless him… May God bless Pakistan with more of such great people. Truly, my buffaloes are priceless collectibles!
“Indeed keeping these buffaloes was a great asset… a daily reminder that I have to keep milking the nation while my servants milk my buffaloes.
“I should accept that it is my mistake. When my lawyers filed the petition for me, Maryam and Safdar, I should have asked them to seek parole for my buffaloes too.
“Shahbaz [Sharif] is there as leader of the opposition. I will ask him to point it out to Imran, when he boasts about selling my buffaloes, that a nation that does not value its collectibles, values nothing!”