Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


The emperor’s new uniform

March 28, 2013

-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.
-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.

There is no dearth of leaders to lead this lost nation; they are spread out all over the country. Some leaders lead the nation from within, while others are leading it from overseas even though they don’t need to. For some, becoming a leader is a hobby, while the rest become leaders out of necessity and compulsion. The remaining are under the impression that the nation desperately needs their leadership; there are also a few poor souls whose source of income relies upon being leaders.

Those who don’t consider leadership a profession instead, develop an obsession with being a leader. This usually happens when someone progresses so much that s/he becomes immensely powerful. Then s/he begins to think that the nation cannot take a single step without them. If this happens while one is in uniform, one can easily pass 10-11 years in uniform. But if you get tricked by someone into removing your uniform, then your obsession with power will leave you unable to do anything else.

Our Musharraf Bhai is experiencing a similar obsession with power. The obsession still remains, even though Musharraf removed his uniform and left the country. People say that it isn’t his obsession with power that is the problem. It’s entirely the fault of Facebook. If it wasn’t for Facebook, his obsession with power might have left him and occupied another place. But then Facebook has deceived many. It seems as if there will be demands to hold the elections through Facebook this time. If Facebook fans don’t come to receive their leaders at the airport, why would they come to vote for them?

Nevertheless, our Musharraf Bhai has landed on this land of the pure, amidst his threats of “I am coming! I am coming!” As soon as he arrived he said, “I have only come to tell you that I don’t fear anybody. Those who said that Musharraf won’t come can now see that I did come.” When he was leaving he had said that only God could save this country and now he is saying that he has come to save it himself.

-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.
-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.

Those who are already responsible for saving the country spend more than half of the national budget in order to save it. For that, they have formed the Difa-e-Pakistan Council, while also financing other similar organisations so they can be used when the time comes. Despite all that, Musharraf Bhai has still arrived to save the country. Previously, he used to use ‘General’ as a prefix to his name but when he realised the level of respect that prefix attracts in our country, he switched to ‘Syed’ so that he could benefit from the respect this title commands from the masses, no matter the kind of person the Syed actually is.

Our leaders’ hearts are overwhelmed with the stormy sea of pain whose waves lash at their insides. Musharraf Bhai’s heart actually cries tears of blood for the despondent masses that have been pushed back further by democracy. The country he had left isn’t the same anymore. However, if the public vote for him in the elections, the nation will soon be back on its feet. Our other leaders are busy in similar struggles to enable the country to stand on its feet again.

On one hand, Mian Sahab is losing weight while he sits in his Raiwind mansion mourning over the grief and dejection of the poor nation. On the other hand, Khan Sahab has won the semifinal in Lahore and reached the finals. Anyway, winning has become his destiny now. But will someone please remind him that the dual national was unable to bring about a revolution from exactly the same spot? The ‘tsunami’ he thinks is coming might also change its route unexpectedly. Our Lahoris love such ‘ronaq melas’ and cannot even protest without dancing to the beats of the dhol. Our younger Sharif is immensely well-versed with these habits of theirs. He has already learnt how to recite poetry while swaying and if he starts dancing the bhangra, then the poor ‘tsunami’ might just get lost on the way.

It isn’t just Musharraf Bhai who has returned. The previous leaders were so overcome with pride and kept trying to prove that ‘Democracy is the best revenge’ slogan as true ended up taking revenge on Musharraf, as well as the public. Now they are back, travelling in brand new Land Cruisers on the roads that were the same five years ago and haven’t changed since then. While these leaders were in power, they sold jobs and ranks. Forget the menial workers; Sindh’s educated white-collar unemployed youth were sold jobs as sanitary workers this time.

Now again, there are the Sharif brothers on one end who have entered the fray in order to save Sindh, while Syed Musharraf shall do the same to save the rest of the country. Khan Sahab has revealed his secrets by allying himself with the Jamaat for the elections. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) is only being targeted because they are hiding behind Mian Sahab. Khan Sahab doesn’t name the other parties because his votes are to come from there.

-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.
-Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro.

But those who took advantage of Musharraf Bhai’s better days and amassed much wealth are now avoiding him and joining other parties according to their own requirements. One came under Mian Sahab’s protection, while another joined hands with Khan Sahab. Another came under the protection of the Pir Sahab, while a fourth took the support of the sab pe bhari Zardari, leaving Syed Musharraf all alone; even our Bhai Sahab is just worried about himself.

Our Musharraf Bhai has become a living example of ‘Democracy is the best revenge’. What splendour! What pretension! What hasn’t he stolen from the masses? So many people were devoured in the name of the uniform. Now, he stands on the same soil and speaks with the same grandeur. He even said that he isn’t in uniform anymore but he forgot to add that those who are still in uniform are worried about saving their necks so why would they worry about you? Forget getting votes; he will be lucky if he can find his way back out of the country. The road that takes one back can only be found once, not all the time – and our Bhai Sahab knows this too well.

Listen to this blog in Hindi-Urdu [soundcloud url="" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

The author has dabbled in every form of the visual arts. An activist to the core, Abro’s work deals with social themes and issues ranging from human rights to dictatorial regimes. He is currently working for DAWN as an illustrator.