Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman and former president of Pakistan, Asif Zardari has made conference call linking Nawaz Sharif, the perpetual leader of his eponymous faction of the Pakistan Muslim League and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly and president of his brother’s party, to discuss the visit of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS).
Zardari, who a few piled up ashtrays in front of him and constantly topped glass of wine, declares, “My dear Nawaz and Shahbaz, thank God that Imran Khan did not invite us to his dinner for MBS. As far as I remember that I have always heard that one should talk about nice things while eating. Would you talk about bedsores while enjoying your dinner of filet mignon, fois gras, and Chablis?”
Nawaz Sharif quickly offers, “When I went to meet with Bill Clinton on July 4, 1999 to discuss Kargil…”
Zardari interrupts, “You mean the mess created by [then chief of army staff] Musharraf?”
Nawaz continues, “Yes, my brother yes. When Mr. Bill invited me to have coffee with him, I asked him if the White House has any lassi. Any way, in short, I did not talk about sad things but I asked him about real estate prices in America, and about investment opportunities in America. Mr. Bill remained in such mood that he told me that your army is in the wrong here. Yes, I know, now Mr. Bill is saying that he never invited me because it was their July 4 holiday, and he wanted to go out and play his music… I think he called it saxophone.”
Shahbaz asks, “Bhaijan [dearest brother], you mean Mr. Bill is fond of sex, but he also plays a saxophone!”
Nawaz, who received the call in his hospital room, continued, “We should not be talking about sex on the phone, may be in my sub-jail, someone may be recording us.”
Zardari rejoins the conversation, “My brother such a shame that at a state dinner, the prince is told about the poor working conditions of Pakistani blue collar workers in Saudi Arabia.
“Really, Imran Khan is so naïve and inexperienced that he thinks that the prince socializes with our blue collar workers. My brothers, isn’t it an insult to Pakistan that it’s prime minister is talking about blue collar workers and Pakistanis in Saudi jails.”
Nawaz adds, “My brother did you hear what MBS said, “He declared that this $20 billion investment is just the beginning and much more will follow because they were waiting for such a leader (Imran Khan) to invest in Pakistan.
Shahbaz adds, “You will see how Imran Khan and his party will keep on repeating this figure when MBS has signed a $44 billion oil refinery in India.”
Zardari interrupts, “My dears, I am considering this $20 billion and coming. Yes, Shahbaz, $20 billion is not $44 billion, but the pivotal matter is that how much you can take home of it.”
This time, Nawaz interrupts, “My dear Asif, this is all our work. If Imran wants to take credit, God bless, but he cannot come anywhere near us. It was I who laid the foundation for this when King Abdullah brought my family and me to Saudi Arabia and gave us his palace.”
Once again Zardari enters the conversation, “My friends, I am more concerned about MBS saying that they were waiting for such a leader. You know I have appealed to our media to help unseat Imran Khan’s government, but this means that when we will succeed, we will be unwelcome by the Saudis.
“My dear Nawaz and Shahbaz, we need to heighten our media campaign because a lot more of the poor people in our country will be liking Imran. I would say that you have quarter million workers in Saudi Arabia, imagine the vote bank that Imran is grabbing. You know what bothers me that I am told that some Pakistanis are saying that we don’t want to leave this country to Bhutto or Sharifs children. Of course, we cannot allow such thinking to flourish in Pakistan.
“Do you have any suggestions? But I have made up my mind. Religion is the best weapon to fight this scourge. So, our best weapon is Maulana Fazlur Rehman [chief of his eponymous faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i Islam] because NAB [National Accountability Bureau] has initiated 17 inquiries against his younger brother [former Commissioner Afghan Refugees Ziaur Rehman]. He too will not be spared. Like us, he too is NAB affected. Right now I am calling him to lead a fatwa campaign against Imran that it is unlawful to talk about the poor before your guests.”