zulfiqar

Quashing Time Pakistan

Zulfiqar Haiderali

With apologies to BBC's Question Time.

The following is an excerpt from what led to the ban of a popular current-affairs talk-show episode. But according to official sources, what you're about to read - never took place…

PERVEEN WAKEEL: "Good evening, and welcome to Quashing Time: Pakistan .

Tonight on our panel we have Mr Lunger Khaaja, Minister for Welfare, Government of Pakistan.

Mr Daqianus Danish, general secretary, Pakistan Maazi League - Burhaapa Group [PML(B)].

Ms Betaab Tarannum, acting co-chairperson of Pakistan Puppets and Parrots Parliamentary Party [PPPPP].

And finally Maulana Azeem Azaaym, Quaid Majlis-e-Talibania Pakistan [MOP].

A very warm welcome to all of you. Now, without further ado, let's go to our first questioner, right there in navy blue Bermuda shorts, yes, what is your question to the panel?"

BLUE BERMUDA GUY [Thick 'southern' drawl]: "My qwestion to the paynel is… naow that the United States has caanquered I-rack, whorrif it naow decides to declayre Paykistan among the 'axis uv evil', since the slaat is up for graybs after I-rack's excloosion?"

PERVEEN: "Alright, this refers to President Bush's famous speech in which he declared Iraq , Iran and North Korea as…"

MAUL. AZEEM AZAAYM: "Yes, yes, we all know what this obviously gumrah young man is referring to - if only I was in power I would have lynched him in public for so shamelessly showing off his ugly knees! You see, Amrika has no business declaring any state 'axis of evil' because Amrika itself is the mother of all evil and inshallah Taliban will very soon…"

DAQIANUS DANISH: "Well, this really makes me laugh because with all due respect to Maulana Azaaym here, aren't his children residing and enjoying a prosperous life in the States? I think we still need to carefully read this scenario without jumping to any belligerent statements…"

BETAAB TARANNUM: "In fact, this is exactly what we told President Bush's under-secretary to the additional-advisor to the deputy-vice-assistant to the associate-desk-operations clerk at the White House when we were there in July. We conveyed to the President that when we come to power, we will definitely improve our track record concerning terrorism significantly…"

PERVEEN: "Let's… let's take the government's point of view on that. Mr Khaaja?"

LUNGER KHAAJA: "I would take the question in its true spirit, rather than trying to issue political agendas here. I think what this young man is asking, is at the very core of our foreign policy. We are evaluating the unfolding of events with respects not only to Iraq, but also Kashmir, Chechnya, Afghanistan , East Timor , Palestine , Gaza, Bosnia , Gujarat, Philippines , Antarctica …"

PERVEEN: "I can see we have drifted off the topic here, so let's move on to our next questioner. There, in a yellow-pink-embroiderred-chikan-laced- kaamdaar-Bohri-bazaar-or-probably-Tariq-road-jora young lady… yes, what is your question to the panel?"

YELLOW-PINK GIRL: "It looks to me, like… uhm… you know, most of these guys here, um … these politicians and government people, like, they really don't care about us, the… you know, commoners, like, when I was in Seattle last summer, I uh… was rather, like, surprised to see everyone there, you know, kind of… hating us… and I was, like… no way… this is definitely so uncool! But it's now happening to us!"

PERVEEN: "What the young lady refers to is quite a serious problem for Pakistanis everywhere in the US. Mr Khaaja, is our government doing anything to put pressure on Bush Administration for better handling of our fellow citizens?"

LUNGAR KHAAJA: "Hahahaha… putting pressure on Bush Administration… hahahaha…."

DAQIANUS DANISH: "I fail to see any humour in this question. I think Prime Minister Jamali should throw all his weight on US Ambassador in Islamabad to…"

MAUL. AZEEM AZAAYM: "Let me say this again, as I have been saying ever since this whole infidel business began: We should work towards repatriating all Muslims from every unTalibanic society back to this land which was created for all Muslims of the world…"

BETAAB TARANNUM: "Er… we think Maulana forgets that Pakistan was created for the Muslims of the sub-continent…"

MAUL. AZEEM AZAAYM: "Bibi, I speak for all Muslims residing everywhere in the world, this is the mandate that has been given to me in a dream once when I was…"

PERVEEN: "I think we should move on to another question. This one comes via e-mail from a Pakistani laundry-worker in Argentina . He writes: 'What should be our government policy regarding the sudden upsurge in violence against women in our society.' The sender is referring to some recent acts of barbaric human rights violations against women. Ms Betaab, I'd like to take your opinion, as you're the one on this panel representing Pakistani women."

BETAAB TARANNUM: "As everyone recalls, Pakistan's women-rights record was exemplary during our tenure at the office…"

LUNGAR KHAAJA: "Hahahaha… which tenure was that, madam? The corruption tenure? Or the percentage tenure?…"

PERVEEN: "Please, Mr Khaaja, let her finish… Ms. Tarannum…"

BETAAB TARANNUM: "Thank you. As we were saying, not a single case against women was brought under our notice while we were in office. Obviously this means there were no crimes against women then."

PERVEEN: "Mr Danish?"

DAQIANUS DANISH: "This is indeed a very grave issue, and I'd like to assure our citizens that this will be dealt with strictest punishments once we figure out what constitutes as a 'crime' against women, as the definition is rather murky. "

PERVEEN: "Now let's take a question from that tall, slender gentleman with a beard carrying an Uzi-9 millimeter, no… not you sir… the gentleman with the Uzi… yes, what's your question to the panel?"

UZI TOTTING MAN: "I'm an Arab businessman currently staying in Karachi. I'd like to ask Maulana Azaaym if he knows the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden? And if yes, would he share the reward money with the people of Pakistan?"

(Laughter from the audience.)

PERVEEN: "I think this is a very serious question regarding Osama Bin Laden's whereabouts…"

MAUL. AZEEM AZAAYM: "Be quiet, woman! We heard the question and there is no right or wrong answer. Only the best answer."

PERVEEN: "Mr Danish?"

DAQIANUS DANISH: "I don't think it's a matter of his life and death. If he is dead, let's say, then he's dead. And if he is alive, suppose, then he is alive. Either ways, he could be both dead and alive, which cannot be true since it's not logical. So I deduce from logic that he's…"

PERVEEN: "Er… I don't think we have enough time to get into the technicalities of life and death, Mr Danish. This brings us to another question, and it is being asked by Ms Sharmeeli, who is a Public Relations Manager with a multinational company. Yes madam, what is your question to the panel?"

MS SHARMEELI: "I would like to ask everyone on the panel: what does it mean by Legal Framework Order, and secondly, what is wrong with President's uniform? I think he appears quite handsome in it."

PERVEEN: "Mr Khaaja, let me begin by taking the government's opinion."

LUNGER KHAAJA: "Actually, I'm not the Attorney General, but of what I know, I think the Legal Framework Order refers to the presidential decree that all picture-frames decorated on the main entrance hall of the presidential palace be given legal status, as some of these portraits bear personalities who actually never ruled Pakistan legally."

PERVEEN: "Ms Betaab Tarannum?"

BETAAB TARANNUM: "Legal Framework Order is yet another example of manipulative politics by the Army to frame us and our dear ones under executive orders and in guise of legality."

DAQIANUS DANISH: "I think it is a shameful precedence in this country that the wardrobe of our president is so publicly discussed and ripped off. As everyone would recall, Quaid-e-Azam was declared the best dressed statesman, and he never wore any uniform…"

MAUL. AZEEM AZAAYM: "President's uniform symbolizes western values which have nothing to do with Taliban. I think the public should be taken into confidence to make Talibani shalwar-kameez both civil and military uniform."

PERVEEN: "And for our next question… there, in white, er… loin cloth… yes sir, what is your question to the panel?"

SANYAASI BABA: "After this so-called thaw in Indo-Pak relations, does the panel think that Kashmir issue can now finally be settled once and for all?"

LUNGER KHAAJA: "Kashmir is our jugular-vein, and India calls it part of its body, and India is our bigger brother, but we're no small fry... so we are not going to sacrifice our body-part... that is why our nuclear deterrence is necessary... not only because there is sibling rivalry of nuclear proportions but also that India never discloses exactly which body part of it Kashmir is…"

PERVEEN: "Er… Ms Tarannum?"

BETAAB TARANNUM: "Together with like-minded and business-minded politicians in India, our government would've solved the Kashmir issue so swiftly even Kashmiris couldn't tell what hit them, let alone Swiss bank authorities."

DAQIANUS DANISH: "I think the Kashmir issue needs to be carefully evaluated, discussed, deliberated, debated, weighed, negotiated, assessed, appraised, analyzed, reviewed, calculated, planned…"

PERVEEN: "Er… Maulana Azaaym?"

MAUL. AZEEM AZAAYM: "In the larger interest of Talibani Ummah, our stance is very clear: both India and Pakistan should give up their rights on Kashmir and annex it to the upcoming Talibanic Empire, which is the Greater Afghanistan . If they don't, then my Jihadi forces definitely will, Inshallah."

PERVEEN "I think we have time for one last question, and I'd like to take it from that girl in black skin-tight jeans and pink tank-top… yes you… what's your question to the panel?"

HOTTIE IN SKIN-TIGHT JEANS: "The renaming of the North West Frontier Province has been an issue for quite some time. I'd like to ask the panel what should be the name of this province?"

PERVEEN: "Good one! Let's restrict our replies to only the name please. Maulana Azaaym first, since you hail from that province?"

MAUL. AZEEM AZAAYM: "Talibania."

LUNGAR KHAAJA: "Pashtoon And Tribal Hazaras Administered North, or P.A.T.H.A.N. – to be short and sweet."

DAQIANUS DANISH: "I think the existing name does the best justice to the land of proud Pashtoons because…"

PERVEEN: "Please, Mr Danish, can we just have the name?"

DAQIANUS DANISH: "I'd stick to the beautifully articulated existing English name."

PERVEEN: "Fair enough. Ms Betaab Tarannum?"

BETAAB TARANNUM: "We would call it Shaheed ZAB Province for Pashtoons and Tribal Peoples of Pakistan."

PERVEEN: "I'm afraid that's all the time we have for this Quashing Time Pakistan. Thank you very much to our panel, and every one who grilled them. Allah hi Hafiz Pakistan."

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