This is a satire piece and any eventual accuracy in its predictions will be completely coincidental.
History repeats itself everywhere but it probably doesn’t repeat itself with such consistent rage as it does in Pakistan where lessons from the past are almost never learned.
There is a set blueprint to the variety of news events seen every year, with political squabbles, sweet talking the establishment, trips to the IMF — all being regular items albeit with changing characters and faces.
With a database compiled over 75 years and an eye on recent trends, we’ve taken out a crystal ball to gaze into what lies ahead for Pakistan in 2023.
Here are our top predictions for the year that awaits:
Govt, opposition agree to ditch elections, introduce talent show
The long-drawn-out talks between the government and the opposition finally bear fruit, with both sides agreeing to ditch the “useless” exercise of general elections.
Instead of going to polls, the political leaders decide to stage a talent show named “Woo the Boys” where all the aspiring rulers will exhibit their talent in front of a jury with the hope of earning the nod.
“It was an open secret anyway that the real ruler is the one who is on the same page with you know who,” a sitting minister tells Dawn.com on condition of anonymity. “So why waste time asking the public what it thinks? Let’s cut to the chase, erase the middlemen and simply focus our energies on the real playa”
“Besides, no matter if it’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, top gear, reverse or neutral … the boys will be boys,” he adds.
Following the announcement, a key opposition leader is torn between which undying art form to choose from for the talent show. “I am really confused. I’ve been told all my life that I dance to the tune really well. But it recently occurred to me that I can also take centre stage in a puppet show. It probably will be hard to believe but I can also say the most number of yes-es in a minute.”
“Let me give you a quick demonstration: ‘Foreign policy? yes … Budget? yes, yes … Security issues? yes, yes, yes!’”
Finmin-in-waiting changes philosophy mid-interview
With the fate of the government via a crucial vote in the National Assembly minutes away, the opposition’s finance guru shows up at a TV show for a live interview in order to deliver a final few verbal blows.
“This government has done nothing but drop petrol bomb after petrol bomb on the poor people of this country,” says the guru, who is widely expected to become the new finance minister if the opposition wins the vote being held simultaneously to the TV broadcast. “The cabinet is full of heartless ministers who have mortgaged this country to the IMF. Inflation is at an all time high and it is all due to the mismanagement of these crooks.”
Minutes later, as the government loses the vote and the opposition guru is now the odds-on favourite to become the new finance minister, the finance guru takes a giant U-turn on what actions should be taken.
“The [incoming] government will have to raise petrol prices because we do not produce enough oil and there is a global crunch,” he says. “The new cabinet feels the pain of the public but we have no choice. What the IMF wants is actually in our own interest, and we will have to do as they say. Inflation is at an all time high but it is down to this ferocious global supercycle.”
Govt to acquire Maula Jatt, Noori Nutt’s services to scare down dollar
Hell-bent on keeping the dollar rate in check but unable to inject funds in the market without upsetting the IMF, the government’s finance wiz comes up with the plan of letting Maula Jatt and Noori Nutt scare the greenback into submission.
“The current dollar rate of Rs280 is unnatural, and it has nothing to do with rising imports, falling exports or shrinking reserves,” the finance minister says. “There is no need for structural reforms. That said, the dollar must go down and if it won’t go down we will unleash Jatt and Nutt on it. This duo will mean-mug the dollar back to its actual level of under 200.
“‘Oa dollar-aaan mai tera khoon pee jawanga (O dollar, I will suck your blood)’,” from Maula Jatt will be enough to crash the dollar. And if that doesn’t work, Noori Nutt’s ‘Nawa Aayaan Aee Sohneya (are you new here?)’ will surely do it.“
When reminded that the IMF may not agree to his strategy, the minister says: “I don’t care about the IMF. I told them ‘I will give you a befitting response’, and this is my response.”
Out-of-favour govt leader diagnosed with Stage 4 escape-uenza disease
As the tables turn and the ruling regime is no longer on the same page with the powers that be, a leading government minister falls ill with a mysterious never-seen-or-known-before medical condition called escape-uenza.
The illness, a complete medical rarity for physicians in Pakistan but reportedly treatable in London, sees the minister’s platelets dwindle quicker than the country’s forex reserves.
The bed-ridden minister’s failing health forces the apex court to let him leave the country despite a list of corruption cases chasing him. The platelets, however, miraculously reemerge on their own as soon as the minister’s air ambulance leaves Pakistani territory. So incredible is the recovery that the minister’s air ambulance is redirected to Milan where he gives fitness lessons to Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James.
Leading TV channel demands ‘freedom to report’ with a bias
A self-proclaimed “number one at everything” TV channel stages a protest to bemoan the shrinking space for journalists to report with a clear bias.
“What we’re seeing now is worse than Zia,” says the Reporters Without Credibility (RWC) chairman. “Our voices, as partisan as they may be, are being muzzled.”
“The press is the Fourth Estate of any society and with a bit of partisanship, the Fourth Estate can generate real estate. For the select few, it can also lead to SAPM gigs. Therefore, we demand complete liberty to do masbat or manfi reporting.”
Patriotic Facebook commenter enraged at “negative portrayal of Pakistan”
A documentary on rising crime in Pakistan makes it all the way to the Oscars — much to the chagrin of an uber patriot, who is Facebooking on his phone outside his home when the news breaks.
“*** you! This is not what Pakistan is all about. This is so inaccurate and not at all a true depiction of our culture and values. The documentary maker should be ashamed of herself. For a few dollars you sold your soul,” the livid commenter writes under a Facebook post moments before a a biker relieves him of his mobile phone.
Govt of Sindh inaugurates off-roading facility for Karachiites
In order to meet adventurous Karachiites’ need for quality outdoor thrills, Government of Sindh finally designates an off-roading area.
“We realised that a lot of our people had to make the arduous journey to Hingol National Park to satisfy their adventure pangs. Therefore, the Government of Sindh, in collaboration with local administration, has decided to bring the national park literally to your doorsteps,” says the information minister.
“The entire city of Karachi has been designated as an off-roading site. We were often asked why the government was not fixing roads. This was why. We were systematically creating potholes and craters so our citizens could get a taste of the wild right in their city.”
“We will also be unveiling a state-of-the-art water park and a laguna city during the monsoon season. It will cover almost the entire city. The only exception will be a half a street somewhere so that the chief minister and Karachi admin can have photoshoots there in rain coats and long boots.”
‘Sports and politics don’t mix’: PCB’s politically selected chairman tells BCCI
After the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) once again informs Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that it won’t be sending its team for Asia Cup, the latter’s chairman berates the former in a morality lecture for the ages.
“The problem between the two countries is political, but this matter is about sports. Has the BCCI not heard that sports and politics don’t mix? We should strive to keep cricket away from politics,” says the politically selected chairman, who was rewarded for his proximity to the newly installed ruling party.