I've known for a long time that Imran Khan is a born dictator. So it shouldn't surprise us that he cannot tolerate dissent. His henchmen sing his praises every day, whether it's for the weather or for any imaginary success of his government. I suspect that one of his staff members has nothing to do but keep a record of what good his ministers and advisors say about him, apart from blaming the opposition for bad weather and all the country's problems.

But now Imran seems to be really desperate. Journalists have been warned not to criticize his government. International journalists have already noted how the twitter accounts of some prominent critics were suspended, and how TV interviews of some opposition figures were cancelled. His finance minister Hammad Azhar got incensed when a news channel reported that he had paid practically no tax for the past five years. He got a state institution (PEMRA) to impose a penalty on HUM channel for doing this. Then the interior minister threatened to break the legs of airport staff if they didn't provide him an air conditioned vehicle to take him from the lounge to the aircraft. 

All these are signs for those who have minds. Imran Khan must have been fourteen or fifteen when the riots against another dictator broke out and he had to resign in disgrace. He should learn from the past and learn to tolerate criticism. But knowing he's not much different from your average Pakistani, I doubt if he will.

Our very talented cabinet ministers!

JULY 16, 2019

You can’t help being impressed by the enormous talent in the Great Khan’s cabinet. 

There is that lawyer who is now science and technology minister. He’s the one who discovered a helicopter could travel for fifty-five kilometres with just a litre of petrol. Another chap was caught with bottles of whiskey that miraculously turned into honey before examination by experts. And how could we ever forget the genius who was able to clear three papers in just thirty minutes to get a university degree? I’ve asked all those I know to immediately hire applicants who have a degree from the said university, even if said applicants don’t know anything about the job they have applied for. There’s also that lady advisor for information or disinformation who should really be the health minister as she is a medically qualified doctor.

We also have a very able and dashingly popular foreign minister. Only the other day, he stunned his audience of mostly super-natural invisible beings with his claim that there remained absolute freedom of the media in Pakistan. In a way, he’s right. Of course, there is a hundred per cent freedom for the media, but only for those, like himself, who have nothing bad to say about the government.

This brings me to perhaps the one who tops them all; the chap who has somehow managed to solve the water problem in my city. Until recently, it used to be very difficult to get water tankers, but now. I have water all the time; paying the water mafia thrice the amount I used to pay them last year. The tanker man says it’s due to the increased cost of labour and fuel, but he doesn’t know anything about it. He’s probably a graduate of that same university I just mentioned.

The water minister also knows everything about petrol; claiming the people of Pakistan are rich enough to pay twice the price they are paying right now. If things go according to schedule, we’ll soon have to pay much more, with the government increasing taxes on almost everything under the sun. And if war breaks out in the neighbourhood, we can kiss goodbye to 112 rupees per litre of petrol; it could become a rare commodity and we’d be forced to abandon our vehicles and walk miles every day. Come to think of it, that won’t be so bad. All my corpulent friends, relatives and neighbours would shed all their excessive poundage without undergoing those expensive abdominal surgeries and liposuctions.

Now, this is sheer genius. How did he arrive at that exact figure of five thousand, despite the fact that millions had to be liquidated in China and Russia before their leaders were able to change the destinies of their countries? One must also wonder who those lucky five thousand would be; sacrificing their precious lives for the nation? Perhaps, this is how those ten million jobs that the PTI once promised could be provided. The ten million would be asked to go around the country; selecting the people to be hanged, you know. Just like what we all would have to do next month as we choose cows, goats and camels for sacrifice.
It would solve the unemployment problem to a great extent (particularly among those who voted for PTI).
The writer is an engineer, a former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, an industrialist, and has been associated with the petroleum, chemical industries for many years