The news that the Foreign Policy magazine has included prime minister Imran Khan in its 2019 list of Global Thinkers, where he shares the spotlight with other world leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), has angered Asif Zardari, the former president of Pakistan and co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party.
He has called some of his party’s top echelon to his Bilawal House residence in Karachi. Present are: his son, Bilawal’s spokesperson Sen. Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Sen. Sherry Rehman, Dr. Nafisa Shah, and Maj. Gen. Naseerullah Khan Babar.
Several overloaded ashtrays front the furious chief, and an attendant is frequently refilling his glass of Chivas Regal.
Zardari shouts, “I want answers, why Imran Khan was named by this magazine or whatever it is? Why no one told the editors that my son, Bilawal is the only and true recipient of any attention… and now the thankfully retired chief justice Saqib Nasir has gotten him removed from the travel control list.
“Why no one told them that Bilawal is the only and sole heir of our immortal martyrs, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto?
“What is surprising is that it is the 10th anniversary of this list and they acted so injudiciously.”
Sherry Rehman trying to reduce the temperature offers, “Whatever it is but it is not a huge write-up. All they said that he is ‘a former cricket star, finally got the job he had long coveted ─ prime minister. His reward was an incredibly difficult to-do list, starting with Pakistan’s looming fiscal and debt crises.’”
An angrier Zardari blasts, “Sherry, are you all right? Listen what you told me… they mention Pakistan’s looming fiscal and debt crises.
“Isn’t Imran repeating this all the time and since years? Isn’t he using these things to tarnish my and my brother, Nawaz Sharif’s reputations?”
Zardari takes a break to smoke another cigarette and bellows, “Is this list including just one person per country? Not just Bilawal, but they should have included me too.
“You tell me that it says that this list has included people for their strategic approach towards foreign policy. Don’t say that you don’t remember, but in my five years as president, I made fifteen trips to China. You know that their president Yi ordered that the red carpet should be on the tarmac permanently because I would just arrive there at the drop of a hat.
“Now Nafisa, you should ensure that Imran does not use this news to silence his critics and our supporters. Tell them that they should be proud of supporting those whom are being called corrupt politicians, dishonest bureaucrats and greedy businessmen. It is us… it is we who know how to run a country.
“No. I am not beating my own drum. But even see Nawaz Sharif. The great statesman that Nawaz is, he embarked on an international mission of reconciliation between hostile states during his last years and made more than 100 visits with results known only to him, but Imran did not do any such great work and still he made into this list!
“It is nothing short of the Nobel Prize being handed to Barack Obama even before he took oath as president of the United States.
“Gen. Babar, you tell me what is this list? Even [Indian prime minister] Modi is not there! I mean see all the billions he has spent on American arms.
“Sherry, I had sent you as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, at least, you have to speak to this Foreign Policy that they tell you about what Imran has done in their sector of life? What foreign policy? He is only spending his time hitting against my brother Nawaz Sharif and me. Where is foreign policy in talking about what, he thinks, is corruption?
“What does Imran Khan know about foreign dealings? Does he have any international real estate and investment portfolios? Ask Asif Zardari… and my Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Aseefa have been born with all these things. Even Nawaz Sharif knows better… if not far and wide, he has such portfolios in England! Doesn’t such work require expertise in dealing worldwide? Really, a totally inexperienced person has been selected into power. Pity the luck of Pakistan.
“All of you know that I have played polo. I know the psychology of sportsmen. The more you cheer them, the more aggressive they become. We have to get this accolade written off … at least written down, otherwise Imran will become more deadly.
“Sherry, we and Nawaz’s PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League] have a majority in the Senate, you should get a resolution passed there that the Pakistan Peoples Party demands that Foreign Policy drop Imran Khan from its 2019 list of Global Thinkers.”