Tuesday July 05, 2022

35 punctures - the real story

Now now, I might not have followed the 35 punctures story last year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be up at 3:30 in the morning to write about it.But first, how many of you saw Friday’s Aapas Ki Baat? What a show! Watch it if you haven’t already, and

July 10, 2015
Now now, I might not have followed the 35 punctures story last year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be up at 3:30 in the morning to write about it.
But first, how many of you saw Friday’s Aapas Ki Baat? What a show! Watch it if you haven’t already, and if possible watch it in 3D with a bag of caramel popcorn, ice-cream soda and dark glasses. This bucket has fireworks babes.
But the real reason I am doing my early morning rise and shine is not the fireworks or the punctures, but the various shades of logic that emerge on my Twitter timeline as one PTI supporter after another talks deep stuff about the story.
I think Najam Sethi should write a bestseller and call it Fifty Shades of Bray, and dedicate it to the PTI youth supporters on Twitter. Seriously people, Pakistani youth on Twitter supporting what is increasingly becoming quite a hotchpotch of twists and (u) turns is worth monitoring if truth is to be told about how the young people of Pakistan think these days.
This mass production of youth, educated by the unregulated private schooling mafia, is being herded by a party that’s increasingly becoming infested with confusions and contradictions (and yes U-turns)! To think that these young people will soon be let loose on the future of Pakistan. These young people who are so devoid of logical reasoning, and so reluctant to question their sacred gods that it scares me to think that these are the decision-makers of our future generations. What a time bomb waiting to detonate on us.
So trying to be useful at 3am, I very carefully analyse this raw data and categorise it into 35 categories (this is me trying to be ironic). I hereby present to you my very own version of the PTI’s 35 punctures.
Punctures no 1-5: The complete denial category. Remember what Meera once said to Mubashir Luqman with a very straight face? “This is a fack video.” Similarly there is a type of PTI supporters that is in complete denial about the party’s human

follies. These are the conspiracy theorists, the soothsayers, the I-know-better guys, the time-will-tell people, and the IK-can-do-no-wrong crowd. “This in nothing but IK’s wisdom laying eggs”, they say. “You just wait and see”. And for special effect they start their tweets in the name of all that is holy and end them with some very colourful adjectives all in 140 characters.
Puncture no 6-10: The partial denial clique. This is the group that comprises the haters, the completely stubborn, the completely smitten, the completely loyal and the completely idiotic. Though reluctantly they all admit that the 35 punctures story lacks evidence so far, but what does it matter right? Even if it was without evidence Geo is still bad and Najam Sethi is still evil, and this is the theme we are always sticking to – even if IK ditches us and does solo interviews on Geo and later goes kite flying with Najam Sethi in the meadows. #U-turn.
Puncture no 11: Let’s change the topic puncture. This is the group that simply answers all questions with a single-track approach. We will talk about metro and we will talk about patwaris, and when all else fails we will talk about tabdeeli. #Bhabi please RT. Oye! Idiot. #achasorry
Puncture no 12-13: The accuser and the abuser. Oye, puncture vuncture whatever, but look at the lifafa journalists and look at the funding coming from India and look at this four letter word here, yes. #censorthishashtag. Done. Bhabi please RT #Iheartyou.
Puncture no 14-16: The artist, the peacemaker and the Photoshop guys. These are the talented ones amongst the PTI supporters and they believe in peace through art and craft (mostly Photoshop). What 35 punctures you idiots, they will say. Look here is a picture of Khan, and look how handsome he looks wearing a Superman costume and riding an SSG falcon while shooting 35 arrows on an American flag hoisted on a cricket bat doing Kung Fu with an Indian pigeon with 35 beaks. #onlyhope.
Puncture no 17-18: Puncture the traitor-slayer. Well since the puncture story has been debunked, let’s blame it all on India. Or else check out what’s happening in the Middle East. #35 punctures chor do, char halqay khol do.
Puncture no 19: The ultimate matchmaker puncture. East or west, Sheikh Rasheed is the best. IK Sheikh Rasheed bhai bhai. #saynotopride.
Puncture no 20: The hashtag generator. This by far is the most dangerous of the puncture category because it’s called ‘let’s divert everybody’s attention with an irrelevant hashtag’. Please for the love of God, PTI you are very good at starting trends on the social media. Please be responsible with what you generate. Sometimes #wehateNawazSharif has got nothing to do with the answers we want from your leaders.
Puncture no 21: The real-issue guys. These are the super sanguine people and all they have to say is chaddo jee, the real issue is not 35 punctures, but the real issue is the PCB appointment and the more real issue is Lola the showgirl. What about that, hain jee? #Copacabana #stupidmedia.
Puncture no 23-25: The moral brigade, the IK worshippers, and the let’s forgive IK advocates: These are the factions who have a lot of moral values especially for Sethi and are constantly micro-blogging short sermons in multiple instalments about how a journalist should never talk about personal stuff in a program and should never cast aspersions on the national integrity of a national leader no matter how much aspersions are cast on the non-national integrity of a non-leader national. #NoonLeagueHaiHai #PleaseforgiveIK. #BasAikGhaltiAur.
Puncture no 26-31: The clueless mafia. This is the category that is basically just that. Clueless. They are a herd of goats and this is how they operate. If no 26 is overjoyed that at last the 35 puncture story has been proven right (because he had a dream about it) then no 27-31 are overjoyed too and are already tweeting national anthems about it with hashtag: PTI ki shaan Bhabi Jaan. #Let’sbanShirinMazari.
Puncture no 32: The misogynist and the Malala hater. #MyLipsAreSealed.
Puncture no 33: The poet puncture. So this is the poetry this person is writing the moment he sees Aapas ki Baat. Roses are red, violets are blue. I love IK but IK loves you. (Bhabi please RT)
Puncture 34: The ‘let’s tweet like Bhabi’ puncture. Don’t you dare make fun of my hubby. My hubby will ban you. My hubby is the one hero produced in the country. #selfie on a prayer mat #IAmNotEnteringPolitics. #BhabiMakesPoliticalSpeech
Puncture 35: The ‘let’s talk like IK’ puncture. Five days ago: Oye. Meri wife politics main kabhi nain aaye gee. Five days later: Oye. Meri wife politics main aa nahi rahi… aa gaee hai. #IKIsTheMan.
On a serious note, PTI, darling, say something. I’m giving up on you (courtesy: The Great Big World). I still remember the first time I met the core members of the PTI all together in a room and my first reaction was: these are the people who represent me and mine. Middle class, educated, hardworking, honest, wanting a prosperous Pakistan because they believe in it not because they want something from it.
And now I look at the PTI’s fast-changing image and I wonder if I was too naïve all along. There is nothing wrong about Reham Khan becoming the official face of a party that says no to family politics. Spouses all over the world do make public appearances. But the new kind of photo-ops that emerge on the media are largely overshadowing the PTI’s purposeful, intelligent, profound image of the past. When earlier we thought about the PTI, we thought about people like Andaleeb Abbas and Asad Umar, Dr Yasmeen and Shafqat Mahmood. Now it’s as if the seriousness of purpose has suddenly turned into a farce.
A very bad caricature of its original self, the PTI is just an overly exposed jumble of controversies and confusions, silly statements, self praise, frivolity, and zero tolerance for dissent. As a firm believer of the PTI’s core values, I don’t see the party ever losing its support because Imran Khan’s star factor will always pull it up, but if the promise of real change has to be fulfilled then gloating over popularity should not be enough.
Don’t isolate the more idealistic core of PTI supporters. Do away with the plastic. Bring the genuineness back. Bring the clarity back. Bring the honesty back. Bring the fire back. #IKpleaseRT.
The writer is an MSc candidate at the University of Oxford.