Pakistani political jingles

This was written a while back, before Musharraf’s resignation and consequent Presidential elections. Yet it never made its way into print. Here it is now, still somewhat relevant.

In Pakistan, Faiz’s poem ‘Hum Dekhein gain’ is probably the most important and favoured political anthem. Some would say even more so than the country’s national anthem. It fuelled the passion for protesting against Zia’s regime and made a comeback last year in 2008 amongst the midst of the lawyers’ issue, the Emergency, various processions, demonstrations and protests.

Since last year the events unfolding in Pakistan have caused it to become one of the most interesting countries of Asia – unpredictable, unstable and erratic. Old faces, new issues… yet no new anthem to accompany it. As Shakespeare said, “If music be the food of love, play on”; and politics in Pakistan thrives on passion.

With the help of Nadeem F Paracha, here are the coordinating jingles for some of Pakistan’s key political players:

The front man of the current political show is the ever-green Asif Zardari. The 90s era saw case upon case being thrust on him only for him to sail out of them in 2008 with the smoothest of styles. With escapades that the musketeers couldn’t even match, he becomes what Amitabh Bachhan and recently Shahrukh Khan epitomised – the Don. Therefore, adopting the song title “Don hoon main” would only be apt for the slickest man on the scene.

Speaks volumes it does.

Zardari’s little sidekick Sherry Rehman is quite a woman. Not since Margaret Thatcher have we seen such stiff hair or such shiny skin. Whenever there’s a catastrophe one can rely on Ms.Rehman to be there coyly entertaining reporters. The Sex Pistols sang “God save the Queen” and may our journalistic ‘Queen’ live on, for without our “Material girl” where would we be?

No duo has probably been as engaging as the Sharif brothers – beating Batman and Robin in the entertainment stakes. Currently supporting the very judiciary that they once broke the backbone of, the Sharif brothers step up to Bob Marley’s Sun is shining, “To the rescue, here I am.” Shahbaz Sharif’s recent fiery speech which promised already broken promises as well as the demand for the overthrow of Musharraf could have been made shorter via the Moody Blues. Quoting them “If you gotta go, you better go now” would have sent the same message to the president while saving the electricity that was wasted during the two hour telecast.

And who can ignore the key issue that threatens to destroy the country? Typically, far more important than the food and electricity shortage and gas and oil prices, is the lawyers’ issue. Ahmed Ali Kurd, Aitazaz Ahsan and Muneer Malik could save a lot of effort by translating their passion via the Beatles who like them also protested – “You say you’ll change the constitution, Well you know, We all want to change your head.”

Watching the whole show from his cocoon is President Pervez Musharraf. Far from leaving (or staying!) he’s secretly gloating at his leagacy probably humming to Sinatra “And now the end is near, and so I face the final curtain, I did it my way.” But somewhere lingering in the back of his mind is a thought that were best sung by the Clash, “Should I stay or should I go?”

Though that does kind of answer his question.

At the feet of Musharraf is our very own Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani. Poor PM Gillani who, reportedly, due to his lack or powers has yet to experience the joy of being flocked by ministers telling him how wonderful he is. One can almost imagine him woefully staring at Musharraf “Here I am stuck in the middle with you.”

We then have General Kiyani. Kiyani is “a buffalo soldier…said he was fighting on arrival, fighting for survival, said he was a buffalo soldier win the war for America.”

Communicating all this is the Pakistani media who shout out louder than George Michael did in the 90s when they say “Freedom, Freedom!” But somehow the cry got tangled in with someone more sinister that is best communicated via Black Sabbath’s Paranoid: “All day long I think of things but nothing seems to satisfy, Think Ill lose my mind if I dont find something to pacify.”

Victims of such a political show are the Pakistani people. Increasingly disgruntled and heading towards starvation the people really ought to get together now, all classes, religions and creed to the beat of the Rolling Stones. All together now, “I cant get no satisfaction!” And for the food crisis, there’s not much we can do really, except for cry out the Hollies – “Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe.”

In the midst are other players too. Grinning to Stevie Wonder’s beat is “Mr know it all” Mushahid Hussain. Imran Khan crooning Abba’s “Take a chance on me” at every chance he gets to…no-one really. Eruption’s “One way ticket” became Altaf Hussain’s solution to life. Sheikh Rashid, the trendsetter remixed Billy Joel’s “Uptown girl” when he claimed to be a downtown guy.

Going on to insist that head of hair was real.

Maulana Fazl Ur Rehman who is constantly “Living on a prayer” is a stark contrast to our “Dancing Queen” Yousuf Abdullah. The one time Sher-e-Punjab, Mustafa Khar who despite having an ailing political career could make a living appearing in rapper Jay-Z’s video singing “Girls, girls, girls I do adore.” Pervez Elahi who despite losing the election still remains true to his Punjabi roots shimmying away to “maujan hi maujan.” And finally our female freedom fighter, Asma Jehangir who will always remain true to Joss Stone when she sings “I’ve got a right to be wrong.”

As it is, Elton John did sing “when all hope is gone, you know sad songs say so much.”

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Categories: Music

Author:Mehr F Husain

Mehr F Husain was Features Editor of The Friday Times. She lives out of a suitcase.

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