A dialogue between Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif on the Minus-One Formula

Minus-one formula
The Pakistan report card

Thursday, August 27, 2009
Fasi Zaka

NS is planning on being a Prime Minister for the third time, SS is his little brother who is influenced by the methods of SS. SS is trying to teach NS political issues so he can deal with the press with aplomb.

NS: What is this minus-one formula?

SS: It is the tragic outcome of a testicular operation.

NS: No, in Pakistan’s context.

SS: It is the tragic outcome of a judicial operation.

NS: Then, what is a plus-one formula?

SS: It is when a chief minister with ambition has a governor with sedition on his mind.

NS: Okay and what is this dossier?

SS: It is an Indian dosa that we order every few months but return because it is inedible.

NS: Okay. And what is Imran Khan?

SS: He is Chairman of the biggest fan club of Imran Khan in the country, the Tehrik-e-Insaaf. He stopped partying years ago.

NS: And what is our position on the Taliban?

SS: The missionary position, but not as evangelical as Ansar Abbasi and Munawar Hassan.

NS: And what is it that the PPP means when they say consensus?

SS: Consensus is a pluralistic means of ensuring that things don’t get done.

NS: And what is our position on dictators?

SS: We stand to the left and right of dictators. The approving right of it is Zia, the disapproving left when it is Musharraf.

NS: What is white-washing?

SS: It is your selective amnesia of events before 1999 and after it.

NS And why don’t we like Holbrooke?

SS Because Holbrooke is all crook.

NS: And what do I say if people accuse me of being a hijacker?

SS: Say that it is Shabnam Majeed who is a hijacker. Just don’t say you own a sugar mill.

NS: And what do I say when the press asks me my opinion of lawyers?

SS: Say they are the need of the nation, except when the Saudis get involved.

NS: Yes, Saudi is a great nation. In the deserts they are growing trees and hair for male pattern baldness. By the way, are we allies of the JI?

SS: Well only if there is another I involved, the IJI, not when there is a MMA as it gives the PML-N PMS.

NS: Are we rich?

SS: We are middle-class. We have less than Zardari, but more than Bilawal.

NS: Are we a party of real lions?

SS: Almost. Real female lions hunt for food, ours steal credit cards.

NS: What is our stance on the PML-Q?

SS: They are our brothers. Like the Biharis in Bangladesh.

NS: Why do we support Zardari? Is he better than Musharraf?

SS: Yes. Musharraf was a show-off who bought his gifts after tabling cheap prices for them. At least Zardari modestly prefers his gifts under the table.

NS Yes, but Zardari does not respect deals and promises.

SS: True, we respect all our deals, except with Saudis. After all, it is not like it was written in the Quran.

NS: We have made a committee on Gojra. Why is that?

SS: A committee is like having a consensus, as I explained before.

NS: Census?

SS: No, consensus. CON-SENSE.

NS What should I say our foreign policy is?

SS: Freedom for Kashmir and the creation of autonomous region of Raiwand.

NS: What shall I say about our plans for our government, what kind of cabinet will we have?

SS: It will be on merit. Mariam Nawaz will be Minister of Health, not Farah Dogar.

NS: Okay, so in a few months we should go all out against Zardari? We don’t like shady characters with slicked back hair and trimmed moustaches.

SS: No, don’t say that. Someone might think you are talking about Hazrat Zia-ul-Haq.

NS: Okay, okay, I will remember all of this. I think I have got it. Now can I have cake with my tea?

SS: No.

The writer is a Rhodes scholar and former academic. Email: fasizaka@yahoo.com (Source: The News)