Saturday September 23, 2023

The lucky house

June 10, 2023

If all the talk on the topic is something to go by, a Zardari home in Model Town in Lahore has long been deemed essential for the revival of the Pakistan Peoples Party. The news now says that this target has been achieved. The distance between the ‘aala qayadat’ or the top leadership of the PPP and the mythical ‘’jiyala’ has been bridged.Mr Asif Ali Zardari now has the requisite base in the Model Town, which is home to the Sharif dynasty and has sent many a prime minister and chief minister to the power palaces. All the suave and smooth PPP supremo needs to do is to follow the ritual calendar to ensure his son’s predestined march into the prime minister’s office.

Or this is the impression many with varied motives are trying to create in the background of the fall of the man who is the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.There are the awestruck jiyalas who waste no opportunity for declaring their total faith in the ‘jadoogari’ or magic of Mr Asif Zardari – often described after his initials as the master of ‘A’ to ‘Z’ of politics as a way of life. These PPP dreamers are overjoyed by every instance in which someone somewhere surmises that the ‘circumstances were pointing towards’ the now not-so-young Bilawal Bhutto Zardari emerging as the most eligible candidate for the office of this blessed country’s chief executive.

This is currently the main theme the hardcore jiyala dreams are woven around – the crowning of BBZ as a just ruler in continuation of the legacy of his mother and his grandfather Z A Bhutto. Crucially, whereas pundits at one time maintained that BBZ needed to outgrow his father for a real claim on power and people’s hearts, now everyone seems to have accepted Mr Zardari’s pivotal role in escorting his son and his party chairman to the PM House as fate. Thus, the wave of relief and satisfaction that engulfs the PPP crowd at Zardari Sahab’s quip about the date of election being tied to his consent and desire opens new vistas of the most pleasing imagination. Obviously the man who so confidently boasts that it is him who is going to decide when the general election is held must have on him to sufficiently influence the polls in favour of a son who has since graduated to the level pf a protege.

As they say in Model Town and elsewhere in beloved Lahore, ‘worth watching’ is the happiness of the jiyalas who are so incorrigibly loyal to the ‘karamaat’ or magical feats of who they consider the ultimate political guru. But apparently no less intriguing are these Zardari one-liners to the camp which swears allegiance to the ‘real’ and ‘original’ royals of Model Town.At the peak of the dispute with the man who is the PTI, the alliance between the PPP and PML-N was viewed by many as some kind of a scientific lab wonder. The prospect of a return to the field where everyone will be responsible for making or unmaking their own fortune lifts the veneer up on old suspicions. The reconciliatory character resigned to playing the second fiddle to the Sharifs in lead suddenly re-acquires the old shades that he has often been painted in over all these years.

Voices emerge in the PML-N backyard that remind the ‘innocent’ and ‘unscheming’ Sharifs about friends ‘capable’ of pulling a fast one on them on any given day, in any situation. So powerful is the impression left by Zardari Sahab, the new ambitious occupant of a most coveted house potentially a stone’s throw away from the Sharif headquarters from where they rose to power and fame. People are so convinced about his abilities that no amount of references to his non-achievements to the negative repercussions of his policies are sufficient to bring them out of their trance.

The lucky house that is now supposed to anchor BBZ’s flight to Islamabad is reportedly numbered 90-something, which could well be a sign. The environment in the old locality could well serve as a much-needed reminder for the Zardari party to pause and reflect and retrace its steps to the point from where it lost its way in Punjab. Zardari Sahab, who is these days routinely found posing for photographs with ultimate rejects and non-entities impersonating as electables could learn from the fate of personalities such as Manzoor Wattoo and Chaudhry Pervaiz lElahi – two of the most famous like-minded gentlemen who ditched him.

Wattoo Sahab and Chaudhry Sahab are two of the most eligible electables in the history of Punjab. On time they realized that it had become impossible for them to retain their kingdom within kingdom. These erstwhile kingmakers, the sure electables, were compelled to come down and immerse themselves in the party. For survival. This is what the all-promising, ever-suspicious jadoogar leading the jiyalas must aim for. He must have up his sleeve tricks that can produce a party out of nothing.

The writer is a senior journalist.