Will Plan F Work?

By Omer Bin Abdullah | January 2022

As soon as voting was over in the National Assembly over the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, generally known as the "mini-budget", and the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021, which was passed 168 to 150, Asif Zardari, hereditary-co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) hurried over to meet with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president, Shehbaz Sharif in the Leader of the Opposition’s chamber.

Shehbaz, who was downing his third tall can of Red Bull energy booster drink, seeing Zardari enter, ordered his attendant to bring the same for the visitor. The attended poured it in a crystal glass and placed it Zardari’s hand.

“Asif, did you see what happened just now. If you remember that it was exactly one year ago that I had warned your son (Bilawal) of the pitfalls of tabling a non-confidence resolution against (prime minister) Imran Khan…”

“But… but my dear Shehbaz, I mean that the journalists we have nurtured for so long … of course with taxpayer funds… were telling us that the end to our sufferings were nigh… I imagine that like Asma Shirazi (Faisla Aap Ka, a current affair program on Aaj TV) was already getting vouchers for free hajj for her and her family signed by you…

“Then listening to Fahd Hussain (Dawn resident editor in Islamabad and anchor for Dawn News show 'In Focus') and Saleem Safi (columnist Daily Jang/The News and anchor/analyst Geo News), I felt that Imran Khan had no legs to stand anymore…”

“Asif, of course, that’s exactly how I was feeling. Ahsan Iqbal (former PML-N minister) came and whispered like a few dozen times in my ear that we are soon to be kings.

“Even Maulana Fazlur Rehman (chairman, Jamiat Ulema-i Islam-Fazal) was like on speed dial and kept shouting that no need for long marches. You remember how cross he was that you had your own date for the march and were not ready to march with us. He made me promise that he will be re-allotted the ministerial residence he enjoyed for 15 years without being a cabinet member.

“Shahzeb Khanzada (GEO TV Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath) and Hamid Mir, sadly unemployed these days, called me so many times that how many ministries I would demand when (defense minister) Pervez Khattak walks over to the other side of aisle with 80 MNAs. They said that Khattak had told them that he was raving mad at Imran because he only made him KP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) chief minister and now defense minister when he should have been prime minister.”

“Shehbaz, you are right. I am not blaming you. Really, listening to their words, I had ordered that each of the Bilawal and Zardari houses across the country should have 100 lbs of luddo (sweet balls) ready for the celebration…”

“Asif, exactly. I ordered (former minister and now MNA) Sanaullah to arrange 200 lbs of luddo at each of our family houses, when Fahd Hussain told me that Pervez Khattak never plays a loose ball, and the finger is pointed at the leader… Imran.

“I mean… you know, I have kidney infection, which acts up when I see I might be arrested. My kidneys were throbbing when our TV analysts said that Imran had become an orphan after of Gen. Faiz Hameed’s transfer from ISI, and the present chief, Lieutenant General Nadeem Anjum gives Imran less respect than he shows toward his gardener…”

“Yes… Shehbaz, who was it that said that Nadeem had summoned Imran to his office. Believe me, I was so excited… actually, I texted my offshore banks that get ready for big deposits. And what happens next that not just Nadeem but also his boss, (chief of staff) General Bajwa are saluting Imran at the ISI headquarters. He had gone there for top classified briefing on Afghanistan.”

“Right Asif… right… oh, Hamid Mir was beaming that someone has become neutral. What hopes they raised.”

“Shehbaz, I would say that our current hires these Mirs, Shirazis, Hussains, Safis have lost it. We need to invest in a new crop of loyal journalists. Asif, you know that since Punjab’s rule left me, I am nowhere, just selling milk and chicken from my farm. Thanks to the 18th Amendment you got made, you have keys to the Sindh treasury, so you go ahead and buy the right journalists.”

“Asif… and Maulana… Fazl is heart-stricken after this 168-150 drubbing. You know how excitedly he had been talking about Plans and A and B… and he called me a minute ago that lets pin our hope on Plan F… Asif, but something inside tells me that we may go beyond Plan Z.”