Maulana Fazlur Rahman, chief of his eponymous faction of the Jamiat Ulema-i Islam, has been calling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari PML-N’s vice-President Maryam Nawaz Sharif, since they have met at Jati Umra, the Sharif family estate.
Held against the backdrop of arrests of the top party leadership of the two parties, the meeting was aimed at increasing cooperation between the two parties to work out a joint strategy against the Imran Khan led government.
The Maulana, who has been without his lucrative diesel permits since Imran Khan became prime minister, is on a multi-pronged attack. Besides calling Bilawal and Maryam, he is also talking to party leaders who were at the meeting: Punjab PPP chief Qamar Zaman Kaira, Sen. Mustafa Nawaz Khokar, Ch. Manzoor Ahmad and Hassan Murtaza in Bilawal’s team. Maryam’s team members: Sen. Pervaiz Rashid, former Sindh governor, Muhammad Zubair, former speaker Ayyaz Sadiq, Rana Sana Ullah and Maryam Aurangzeb.
Of course, the Maulana wants to know what transpired in the one-on-one meeting held by Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto after the lunch.
A stickler for drawing out the utmost from all situations, the Maulana also met with Opposition Leader and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and Bilawal at Shehbaz’s chambers at the National Assembly. He had already hosted Shehbaz for dinner at his residence earlier.
The Maulana initiates the discussion with Shehbaz, Maryam, and Bilawal, “May God bless you and your parents who are only and rightful rulers of Pakistan.
“The 2006 Charter of Democracy signed by my beloved brother Nawaz Sharif and my sister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed is not only a historic document, but also a source of prosperity for your families and I and my family also had their fill from this stream. It is most encouraging that you are revitalizing and reinventing the charter to lay the foundation for a joint action against this Imran Khan regime… His constant talk about corruption has jeopardized the country’s sovereignty, economy and security. Instead of thinking that Pakistan is the only Muslim nuclear power, people are thinking that we are a den of thieves, so tomorrow when we regain our crown, all the world will look at us with suspicion.”
Bilawal quickly reassures the Maulana, “My respected Maulana Sahib, the moment we kick out Imran Khan, my father [Asif Zardari], my aunt [Faryal Talpur] and our respected prime minister Nawaz Sharif will be free. You know my father. He has no equal. It was his masterful lobbying that obliged Present George W. Bush to pressure Gen. Musharraf into issuing the National Reconciliation Order (NRO).”
The Maulana is swift to add, “Indeed. God be praised. Present Bush did us a great favor. The NRO opened floodgates of prosperity for not only both ruling families but also for me.”
Shehbaz too adds, “My respected Maulana is right. Undoubtedly the NRO was a blessing of God, a manna for our leadership.”
The Maulana checks his cellphone for notes and offers his insight, “You know that it is Akhtar Mengal [leader of his own faction of the Balochistan National Party (BNP)] who helped Imran Khan to take the majority. But Akhar’s political life has been lackluster. In 1997, it was my party that helped him become chief minister of Balochistan. Last year, he was ready to join me to form a government in Balochistan.
“Now that I have brought your two families together, my next project is Akhtar Mengal. We have to win him over to pull the chair from under Imran Khan… O God till how long should I live without diesel permits.
“But Akhtar Mengal will need more rewards.
“[The Maulana downs his glass of lassi and continues] The Charter of Democracy also means the Charter of Sharing…”
Bilawal interjects, “But Maulana Sahib, how long will my father be on 10%? Look at the inflation? So we need to share the spoils according to our contribution and standing. My party rules and has ruled Sindh. My family should get the biggest share…’
Maulana once again offers, “Whatever shares you decide but my efforts need to be rewarded with appropriate amount of diesel permits.”
Shehbaz and Maryam call out in unison, “But we also need to give due weightage to those bearing sufferings for the sake of democracy. Isn’t our true and beloved leader, Mian Nawaz Sharif in jail?”
Bilawal again adds, “But I lost my mother and despite being president for a full term, my father could not trace her killer. Maryam, if your father is in jail, not only my father but also my aunt are in custody.”
A nervous Maulana hurriedly adds, “Uff uff … why all this anger! Let us first pull the chair from under Imran Khan, and then I will set up a committee to demarcate the shares for both of your families. Now stop arguing please. We all know that the national treasury has not much left to loot. In our government, I will become the finance minister and I will scour the earth for loans, especially from countries that have offshore facilities like England. I will ask for loans assuring them, the our three families will keep their offshore businesses bulging.”
Shehbaz, Maryam and Bilawal staring at the Maulana scream, “Did we hear correctly that you said ‘… our three families…’ What? Really? Let us put it straight. Maulana you are only getting diesel permits and government-paid world tours. Pakistan belongs only to two families, the Bhuttos and the Sharifs.”