Judging from the results of the recent by-election, it seems that the ‘poor people’ of Southern Punjab have rejected the former prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani’s theory of a North-South divide in the province. Political pundits are now predicting that the whole of Punjab just might go the PML-N way, as it did during the by-election.

But the poor people of Southern Punjab are the least of the former premier’s worries these days as Gilani is being sought for questioning for his association with the rich people of Northern Punjab. NAB has summoned the former prime minister in the case of illegal appointment of Adnan Khawaja as chairman OGDCL.

Adnan Khawaja is a name that brings a curious smile on the face of the residents of Islamabad. One resident claims that he met Adnan Khawaja for the first time, at a late night dinner in Islamabad, when Shaukat Aziz was still the prime minister.

“Actually,” he says retaining the curious smile, “At first I didn’t realise that Khawaja was one of the guests.”

He explains: “You see. His hair was disheveled and the host was ordering him around.”Who was the host? An equally infamous name is mentioned, better left unwritten, to keep the narrative’s flow singular.

“Even though I was meeting him for the first time but for some odd reason, I felt sorry for him,” confesses the resident. “He told me that he had been to jail and now he was doing business with the host.”

The host was obviously the dominating business partner in the relationship.

“What Adnan Khawaja didn’t tell me at the time was that in jail he had befriended the former Speaker of the National Assembly, Yousuf Raza Gilani.”

“Very frankly nobody knew that Yousuf Raza become the prime minister,” says the resident, as a matter of fact.

And what happened, after Gilani became prime minister?

Other residents who have been around and about claim that once Gilani became the prime minister, a different Adnan Khawaja emerged. The disheveled look was replaced with the 24/7 gelled-back look, claim some.

“Later, I bumped into him at a dinner at the Prime Minister House. Khawaja was very much in command. He was receiving the guests and making arrangements,” says the resident who had met him earlier too.

It sounds like a Cinderella type story, except that it didn’t have a Cinderella like ending. Maybe because – as the by-election results reflect – Gilani in the end was no prince charming.

“Then the whole OGDCL fiasco unfolded into public view and the Supreme Court sent the poor guy to jail,” says the guest with regret.

What happened to Adnan Khawaja after that, as these days he is keeping a low-profile?

“I bumped into him at a super market, recently. He was standing in line buying groceries…” there is an abrupt pause.

The curious smile replaced with a serious look.

“He was wearing this… hat,” says the resident in a confounded manner. “First I didn’t get it. It only hit me later that perhaps he was trying to hide his face.”

And before one could make head or tail of the story, the resident suddenly concludes: “How tables turn, first Adnan Khawaja was hiding his face and now the former prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani is hiding his face, by refusing to appear in front of NAB, in connection to the illegal appointment of Adnan Khawaja as chairman OGDCL.”

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