Just when I was giving final touches to my Panama Leaks column, I opened my Twitter account to check for any last-minute developments in the story, and there it was! Trending at number 1 in India and Pakistan and at number 6 in the world: Tahir Shah and his latest song, Angel, angel. Mankind’s angel.
Angel, mankind’s angel. I’m like an angel, mankind’s angel. My heart is like a rose. Mankind’s soul. Dearest creation by God. La la la la.
And I asked myself, what on earth is this scary thing and why am I even watching this? Plus consider how disturbing some of the lyrics are: I fall in love with you always. Like angels love other angels. La la la la.
Now how angels love other angels is really not my field of expertise, but as a concerned citizen of Pakistan I seriously condemn this character assassination of my angels, and am very shortly going to address the nation in this regard. But first I need to practise my innocent face in front of the mirror and hire somebody with a frozen brain to write my speech. And this is how the speech would go.
Foundries, foundries, Ittefaq foundries. Dearest creation by Dad. Taken away by evil Bhutto, but always springing back. Moreover, I know what you did last summer Imran Khan. La la la la.
Now where is Bhutto, and Bhutto Zardari, to comment on my leaks. I and you are both like angels but IK calls it muk mukka. PS: I also know what IK is doing this summer. La la la la.
Cancer Hospital, Shaukat Khanum, dearest creation of Pakistan. Always target, soft target, because I don’t have a brain. End note: Nice speech in the NA, IK. What you did this winter must be suiting you. La la la la.
Now an ordinary ear might not be able to appreciate the rhyme and meter in the above poetry, but no great poet was ever appreciated in his lifetime, so it’s ok. Plus this is no ordinary poetry. It has been brought to you from the depths of the Himalayas and the heights of the Indian Ocean. This is the legacy of a very pious man who himself has some offshore accounts in Panama but still he is extremely pious. So pious in fact that he is almost an angel angel mankind’s angel, dearest creation by God.
And no amount of King’s horses, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto or Women’s Protection Bill can take his piousness away. And remember, when you want to share the poetry of this pious man, Shaitan will stop you from sharing it. But please be an angel, mankind’s angel and share it as much as possible.
And thinking of these absurdities in life reminds me of another story that I have no idea where to fit in an op-ed piece, so here it goes. Just the other day I went to Liberty Market in Lahore and saw a banner outside a shoe shop that proudly advertised the following: We sell kohla puris and winter pimps. Sale Sale Sale. Although there were no winter pimps on sale on that particular day, I did become very curious about what might be the bargaining price of a winter pimp in summer.
And while I contemplated this complex mystery, a cloth vendor asked me to step aside so that he could spread his merchandise on the pavement. I complied and casually watched as he opened his sacks and took out his colourful stock of Chunris by Fendi. Open-mouthed I watched as the made-in-Pakistan colorful chunri scarves were laid out on the floor in bags clearly identified as Made in Italy by the House of Fendi. The chunris were beautiful. I am sure if I were Karl Lagerfeld I would be very proud and would probably be singing the following song: Chunri, chunri, Fendi’s chunri, Dearest creation by Bahawalpur.
But then I can’t imagine Karl Lagerfeld pronouncing Bahawalpur. Plus Bahawalpur and chunri don’t really rhyme. La la la la la.
But before I digress and tell you that there is a tailoring shop around here which calls itself the Adorable Tailors in all seriousness, I must stop myself and redirect my energies to asking some very current and relevant questions that the whole nation needs to answer now.
Did Taher Shah write Nawaz Sharif’s speech? Who is that masked individual clad in white in Taher Shah’s video? Is it Pervaiz Rasheed, Mamnoon Hussain, an Indian spy or none of the above? Who allowed the little kid in Taher Shah’s video to go through the torture of being in close proximity of an angel, angel, mankind’s angel? Why are we hatching conspiracies against the government in Panama and why not in the House of Fendi? Why are we obsessed with speaking English and why are mistakes in the language cause of so much mirth and social media hilarity?
Now I don’t have answers to all these questions, but I do have an answer to the first one. I think Taher Shah is the official speech writer of the PML-N, and I think there is much more to this song than meets the eye. Look at the lyrics closely, and you can see masked references to the PML-N’s political ideology. “When I found you I was so glad. As I gained lovely heaven” ( tax haven?). And this: My love stays alone, like a mermaid lives alone (Hehehe. No prizes for guessing the bachelor mermaid who live alone. Winky emoticon).
All in all, I think Taher Shah is here to stay, while Panama Leaks is just a peck of snow in the July sun. As the pious poet says:
Commission, commission, judicial commission, dearest creation by NS. Take your time, please take your time because justice is no signal-free corridor. PPS: Watch it IK. Or else. La la la la la.
The writer teaches at LUMS and freelances as a writer, editor and translator.