Maryam (don’t call me Safdar) Nawaz Sharif, one of 16 vice presidents of her father’s eponymous faction of the Pakistan Muslim League, and Bilawal (don’t call me Zardari) Bhutto-Zardari, co-chair of Pakistan Peoples Party, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, head of his eponymous faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam are meeting at Zardari House in Islamabad to discuss the defeat of the joint opposition’s candidate for Senate chair.
Bilawal is sitting in the center, flanked by Maryam and the Maulana who has quickly ordered a tall glass of lassi for himself. Maryam has ordered coffee, while Bilawal is struggling to decide. He is too overwhelmed by the moment, and quickly rests his head on the Maulana’s shoulder. Even before the Maulana could take the first sip, Bilawal breaks into uncontrollable crying.
Amid sobs, he blurts out, “Come October, I was going to be prime minister… the third Bhutto to be prime minister of Pakistan…”
Maryam quickly cuts in, “Excuse me! Prime minister? Do you still remember that my party has 84 National Assembly seats, and yours is just 55!”
Bilawal, his head still on the Maulana’s shoulder, sobs, “Yes, the third Bhutto… by October, I would have shed this hyphen in my name… this Zardari hyphen.”
Maryam, now seriously perked up, retorts, “I am the vice president of the leading party of the opposition. The office of prime minister is my prerogative…”
Bilawal shoots back, “Never forget that in 1970, Pakistan had 300 national assembly seats and my grandpa, the Sublime Martyr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto despite winning only 81 seats, first became president and then prime minister…”
Before Bilawal can continue, the Maulana speaks out, “What is this useless talk about prime minister. Ask me… am I crying like both of you. Yes, I am weeping within. Come October, I was dreaming of diesel oil permits. I have been thirsting for these permits since last July… see now I am also tearing up. Hearing all this prime minister talk, I am missing my ministerial residence and perks that I enjoyed for 15 years without ever being a minister.”
Bilawal opens up again, “Maryam, can you stop this posturing, you are just one of 16 vice presidents of your party. And I am the chairman of my party! Come match me!”
Maryam charges, “No! It will not work that way. Even our Maulana will support me because I will give him a book of blank diesel permits to fill out and sell.”
Bilawal changes his stance and rests his head on Maryam’s shoulder who quickly dabs his tears, “Did you all read the military’s tweet condemning our Hasil Bizenjo of mudslinging against them? This is terrible! They don’t even allow us to grieve.
“It is only our right to be installed by others in power. Maryam, like General Ziaul Haq gifted power to your dad, Uncle Nawaz. Like George Bush helped my mother to become prime minister. Why what is wrong with our military… why they didn’t bring me into power?”
Maryam reacts speedily, “You! It was I who is the most deserving. I have more seats than your party.”
Bilawal, while still leaking tears on Maryam’s shoulder, once again reacts angrily, “What are you talking about. I was so sure that with the Senate in our hands, by October, I would be prime minister that I stopped over in London on my way back from Washington, D.C., and asked Anderson & Shepp to measures me for a few suits. They are the personal tailors to Prince Charles. The prime minister has to have class, not like this [Imran Khan] Niazi going around in non-designer shahlwar-qameez.”
Maryam retorts, “So what it has to do with you being prime minister… just because you got yourself measured by Prince Charles’ tailor? And don’t throw names at me. My father, my uncle, my brothers, and cousins, and even my son also go the prince’s tailors and accessories suppliers… Gieves & Hawkes for suiting, John Lobb for shoes and Budd and Turnbull & Asser for shirts. So…”
The visibly irritated Maulana speaks out, “We came here to plot the next move and both of you are fighting like children about who will be the prime minister. In fact, I am the most qualified person to hold that office. You know that way back in 2007, I had invited the American ambassador to dinner and offered her my services as prime minister of Pakistan… You remember Anne Patterson… I have waited twelve years and the first step toward that dream went out with the Senate setback.
“But you know, instead of concentrating on being prime minister, your first focus should be to get your fathers out of jail.
“I tell you that I will be a just distributor. Both of you will get your fill, but the diesel import and distribution will be mine. Instead of waiting and asking for diesel permits, I will set up a National Diesel Authority where the chairman’s qualifications will be that he is from my progeny. So after me, it will be my son, Asad [Mehmood, member of the National Assembly].
“So instead of fighting among yourselves, you just focus on freeing your fathers. Yes, my Senate move failed but see how both of your stood besides me. So stand besides me and I guarantee you that your assets will keep growing and I will be the best prime minister. I too share the same belief like you and your fathers. We need to set the record straight. We can’t let this Niazi distort it.
“The true rulers of Pakistan own its wealth.”