With what transpired in the last two days in my country, Pakistan, I propose a shocking sequel to Midnight in Paris by the name of “Midnight in Pakistan”. The country’s people, system and Twitter memes were on steroids. The events unfolded at a breakneck speed, and at one point in time, my meme stock started depleting. If you are not a serial meme-er, you wouldn’t understand the gravity of this situation. Wondering how Pakistan went on steroids and involuntarily suggested possibly the most entertaining political drama to Netflix? Join me as I walk you through the story without any reference to boring legalities and emotional remarks.
It was 2 April, a fine Sunday where we all were expecting to have a vote on the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly.
TV channels were bursting with breaking news such as “Opposition Leaders Just Yawned”. The session started and within a total of six minutes, the Deputy Speaker Assembly simply refused to allow the voting, declaring it against the constitution.
What happened next? Here is a quick version:
Imran Khan dissolved parliament, subverted the constitution, and saved himself from a no-confidence vote; the opposition asked the Supreme Court to intervene, Imran Khan called for new elections, the opposition declared it high treason, and Imran Khan accused America of conspiring to oust his government.
Ramzan Teaches Us Self-Control & Patience. Imran Has None.
Everything got much more bizarre when Imran Khan addressed the people to congratulate “them” over “his” successful attempt at subverting the Constitution and showing complete disrespect to the system and the law.
In short, the Mad King just entered the WhatsApp chat where he immediately made himself the group admin.
I vividly remember my mind splitting into two in the days that followed. I was either getting confused by the arguments being made in the Supreme Court or my soul kept leaving my body as I sat through gazillions of addresses by Imran Khan. Though it is the month of Ramzan, a month that teaches us self-control and patience, Imran Khan was showing no control whatsoever, and the judiciary was showing quite a lot of restraint even in giving subtle hints about the decision. While the honourable judges listened to arguments from all sides, I had the misfortune of listening to just one side, which was Imran Khan’s side, and that, too, by himself in his various TV addresses.
'I, Me, Mine': Khan Redefines Narcissism
Imran khan redefines narcissism for me. In all his TV addresses, I counted the number of times he said “I, me, mine”. The number usually averaged around 126 to 145 times based on how much time he spent talking. Some of the things he repeated every single time include the following (I am sorry for doing this to you, dear readers, but why should I be the only one suffering?):
“My struggle of 22 years, I know this more than anyone, you know me, everyone knows me, I know everyone, look at me, look at me, look at me [yes, that’s how it goes], God has given me everything, I don’t need anything, it’s me, my struggle versus all of them.”
Yes, Imran Khan has everything and he doesn’t need anything and he isn’t ready to leave the premiership seat. Go figure!
The Heroic Helicopter That Saved the Day
My very own country left me in a double dose of shock when the judiciary quashed Imran Khan’s attempt to block the no-confidence vote. I called a friend and asked him, “Who are these people and what are they doing to my country by being on the right side of history?” Imran’s government was restored and a decision was made that he will face the no-confidence vote on 9 April, Saturday. “Ah, weekend ruined” was my first reaction considering how Imran Khan simply refuses to accept the Constitution, law and procedural protocols.
But Saturday Night Live became the most sought-after broadcast and maybe Jimmy Fallon can join us for shocking performances. Saturday started like a slow burn with over three hours of speech by our Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, multiple session adjournments and more boring speeches. For a change, Imran Khan didn’t address anyone, which was a bummer for me. The voting time was locked around 8 pm. Tick tock, tick tock, and we touch 9 pm but nothing happens. Rumours start piling up, and it’s around 9:30 pm that the military helicopter enters the WhatsApp chat where Imran Khan is still the admin.
The helicopter landed at the Prime Minister’s House and after much “deliberations” as reported by the media, an announcement was made to go ahead with the no-confidence vote. Even the Supreme Court decided to open its doors just around midnight to provide valuable assistance in ensuring the passage of the vote.
The optics were completed with a curiously parked prisoner van outside Parliament. But another announcement, which no one asked for or even expected, started making the headlines:
“Imran Khan Fires Chief of Army Staff Qamar Bajwa”.
I was shocked at the news and could only say this to myself: “What, Who, Hain [what again], But Why … Woah”. Later, the news was dismissed by Imran Khan because he didn’t have a choice. Mind you, most of us in this country don’t have a choice. Things and people are “chosen” for us.
May Pakistan Never Run Out of Memes
It was 11:30 pm, just 30 minutes away from the deadline given by the Supreme Court, to get the voting going. It was 11:50 pm when the proceedings started under the new Assembly Speaker. It was 11:53 pm when Imran Khan left the Prime Minister’s House. And it was 1 am when Imran Khan was formally removed as the Prime Minister of Pakistan. And it was 1 am when my meme stock finally ended.
Where there was some sort of relief over getting rid of a man who couldn’t think beyond himself, and one who is surrounded by most uncouth people, there was an instant realisation that once again, in 75 years of independence, it was the military intervention that led to this decision. If it wasn’t for the helicopter, Imran Khan might have continued to stall the process by using his uninformed constitutional interpretations. If it wasn’t for the helicopter, the Supreme Court wouldn’t have been accessible at midnight. If it wasn’t for the helicopter, I wouldn’t have written this piece.
So the real winner is … the helicopter.
God bless this country and may my people never run short of memes!
(The author is a columnist and media professional. This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)