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Confessions of a 'Patriot'

August 29, 2011

Photo illustration by Hasaan Haider / Dawn.com

How many of you feel closer to personally knowing senior-minister-not-anymore Zulfiqar Mirza after his confessions yesterday? We now know about how much faith he has in the Holy Quran. We know how many siblings he has, their marital status and we know he’s got a healthy blend of relatives from various ethnic backgrounds. No reason to think that’s too much information – or too unnecessary for that matter. After all Mirza was trying to make a point – that he’s such an open, genuine guy – he couldn’t help but roll off completely irrelevant information before he got to the juicy bits.

Countless Pakistanis went through (and some still are) temporary amnesia ever since the self-proclaimed Patriot spoke yesterday. The praise and glory being bestowed upon Mirza is a classic example of the saying “chal, kaha suna maaf”. All of a sudden we forget he’s the man behind countless irresponsible statements made in the recent past, we forget his excess energy and love for the spotlight that got him so carried away that he ended up flaring a gunbattle in Karachi only last month.

Statements are a plenty in Pakistan. Outcomes are often murky. Where some question if the fiery Patriot would have still launched his tirade if there was no Lyari operation, others wonder what was the final push to the awakening of the great conscience. But before the son-of-the-soil Patriot finally said the magic words against those-who-must-not-be-named, he chose to attack Google Satellite Maestro Rehman Malik first.

Mirza breathed fire as he swore over the Quran that Malik is “hand-in-glove” with terrorists, he is a “compulsive liar” and is embarrassed to admit he eats apples. The clever Patriot knew there is no going wrong when it comes to involving the Holy Book. So that’s what he did. He swore on it, exposed the liars while vowing to speak nothing but the truth and then in case someone missed the patriotic hand lying on the Quran, he also put it on his head – he meant business.

Knowing Karachi burns at the slightest rift between political parties, the impulsive Patriot still took a chance and went ahead with his outburst. He was on a mission – a mission to save Pakistan from all the enemies, liars and fruit-eaters. But why now? Did you stop and think? No, of course not. All Pakistan needs is a hero anyway.

The short-sighted Patriot took a chance and said the magic words which almost turned his reputation around overnight. The Patriot took a shot at MQM, calling it a “terrorist organisation” – and immediately his bravery was celebrated. Other not-so-important patriots have often claimed “we need someone to call a spade, a spade etc. etc.”, but then when a Patriot comes galloping across the city to speak this truth, the city burns and bleeds. But perhaps Mirza the Patriot had had enough. He was not going to let any kind of pressure dictate him anymore, and for that if the city bled again, so be it!

Now as he simmers, a lot of things are coming to light. For starters, what will the Patriot’s “brother and friend” President Zardari do? He along with the apple of his eye Rehman Malik had been working hard to engage MQM in talks… Oops? How does that pan out now? Also, how does PPP continue to hold a façade of solidarity when such statements are being hurled across by its senior party members and there comes along such an evident gap between stances within the party?

Is “brother and friend” Zardari going to call Mirza again for a scolding? Malik has already forgiven him by dismissing his outburst and calling Mirza his younger brother. Like all families, here too, we see the younger brother’s carelessness being dismissed (so what if it has mass-scale violent reactions)… “chota bhai hai aakhair”. And then they say Pakistan lacks brotherhood!

But the most important question that comes now is: who benefits? The Patriot? The Brotherhood? Those-who-must-not-be-named? Alas, the show must go on.

The writer is the Deputy Editor at Dawn.com