Dr. Moeed Pirzada |
Dr. Farooq Sattar, MQM Pakistan’s embattled leader while delivering a passioned speech against his detractors, on Sunday, thundered that, “I can not become Mamnoon Hussain”. Speech was televised, rather chunks of the speech containing that part, were broadcast several times by almost all TV channels. This raises some interesting questions.
To be fair, Farooq Sattar, was speaking extempore; his ironical reference towards Pakistan’s current president, Mamnoon Hussain, was not intentional or planned. It was not a script; it was something that has already become part of the Pakistani lexicon – Dr. Sattar merely used it, in a jest, groping for the right word to explain himself.
“Mamnoon Hussain” is not a name; it is now a political phenomenon, a term from Urdu lexicon, that explains Pakistan’s dictatorial power politics – of ruthless dynastic control under the pleasant sounding name of “democracy”
And one has to keep in mind, that Farooq Sattar is one of the best contemporary political speakers in Pakistan; he is not like many secondary politicians from Punjab, or other regions who don’t have command or control over the language and, in moments of heated debate, end up using indecent expressions on public forums, on tv or even parliament.
He is no “Khawaja Asif” who called PTI leader, Dr. Shirin Mazari “tractor trolley” on the floor of parliament or even Imran Khan who ended up uttering profanities, in a public rally, against PM Azad Kashmir – and PM AJK perhaps holds a record worse than Imran Khan. Farooq Sattar is someone you refer to as “Ahle-Zuban”. As a TV anchor, who is in business of communication, I have always been fascinated by Dr. Sattar’s use of language; he uses Urdu words as precision guided missiles.
To be honest, power of expression has been MQM’s forte; in the past several days of unending tensions between opposing factions of MQM, lots of heat has been generated, on TV screens, but decorums of language have been maintained.
Nawaz had perhaps calculated that Sartaj, with his background and respect across political divide, may start to look like a president; few in Islamabad will disagree with this openly kept secret.
So when someone like Dr. Farooq Sattar say’s, in a jest, groping for the right world, that he “cannot become a Mamnoon Hussain” and every one instantaneously understands what he means, then its time to acknowledge that now “Mamoon Hussain” has joined Urdu lexicon, as synonym of “political impotence” just like “Mir Jaffar” and Mir Sadiq stand for betrayal.
Today Pakistan’s 65% population is perhaps less than 35 years of age, history of South Asia is mostly forgotten; few will know from top of their heads that Mir Jaffar was Commander-in-Chief of Bengal’s ruler, Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah, who betrayed him for British during the battle of Plassey in 1757, thus paving way for English hold on Eastern corridor of South Asia and that Mir Sadiq was Tipu Sultan’s minister who betrayed him for English during the siege of Sernagapatum, Mysore that lead to British control on South of India in 1797.
Most Pakistanis don’t know this; but they know that “Mir Jaffar” and “Mir Sadiq” are dirty names, or words or figures of speech that stand for “betrayal” and “ghadari”, now similarly “Mamnoon Hussain” now stands for “political impotence” “figure of irrelevance” or “weakness”
A close insider of Islamabad political corridors, of PMLN, someone close to Sartaj Aziz, had once told me in juicy details how Nawaz Sharif had promised Sartaj Aziz, presidency before winning the elections of 2013.
President Mamoon Hussain should be worried; for all offices and titles of the world are ultimately for legacy, unless one assumes that hedonistic pleasures of big cars, imported toilettes, and salutes by police sepoys somehow override all these “feelings of irrelevance”.
A close insider of Islamabad political corridors, of PMLN, someone close to Sartaj Aziz, had once told me in juicy details how Nawaz Sharif had promised Sartaj Aziz, presidency before winning the elections of 2013. But after elections, he told Sartaj that he needs him in foreign office. Why he never made him the foreign minister is another story but why he did not make him president is more interesting.
Nawaz had perhaps calculated that Sartaj, with his background and respect across political divide, may start to look like a president; few in Islamabad will disagree with this openly kept secret. So “Mamnoon Hussain” is not a name; it is now a political phenomenon, a term from Urdu lexicon, that explains Pakistan’s dictatorial power politics – of ruthless dynastic control under the pleasant sounding name of “democracy”
Moeed Pirzada is prominent TV Anchor & political commentator in Pakistan; he has worked with state broadcaster, Ptv, and several leading TV Networks including Dunya, Geo, Express and ARY. Pirzada’s writings have appeared in Guardian, Khaleej Times, Dawn, The News, Nation, Express Tribune and other publications. He is frequently invited to national and international conferences, seminars and policy workshops. Twitter:MoeedNj