Pakistan Diaries 3: Politics these days

I joined Tamreez and Elhaan this week and it’s great to see them again. Elhaan seems to have been influenced by Pakistani politicians and greeted me with estranged looks, perhaps complaining about my unannounced disappearance from his life for over a month and a half. He has decided to change parties. He who would only sleep in my arms now refuses to even let me hold him when he is sleepy. I am sure I will lure him back into my party soon.

Changing parties is the order of the day in Pakistani politics at the moment, as Imran Khan’s PTI has undoubtedly registered itself as the third big force in the political arena. It is yet to be seen if it is for the good.

In the UK, the Lib Dem vote bank in the last elections was mainly boosted by those who resented the two main parties. Likewise, Imran’s PTI is banking a lot on those voters who are fed up of the PPP/PML(N) led governments in the past.

Lib Dems also came up quite strong in the pre election polls yet could not translate that into tangible success. The momentum was still enough to give them a stake in the coalition government. Since then, the amount of U turns and compromises they have done, has completely shattered any hopes for them to do well in the next elections. I know there is a big difference in the two parties but still I hope PTI does not end up in the same boat if they do well.

The basic day to day issues like inflation, shortages of gas and electricity and the deteriorating condition of transport and infrastructure etc. are what people want resolved. A conversation with my driver who cannot read or write but yet carries a good insight into politics, sums up how a general voter thinks about politics. He has decided to vote for PTI in the next elections. When asked what convinced him to vote in favour of Imran Khan’s PTI, he said, “All my life I have seen others rule. They have been given more than one chance and they looted and destroyed my country. Imran Khan has a clean track record up till now and I can only hope that he is different from others. Worse comes to worst he’ll also do what his predecessors did. At least he deserves a chance”.

What we’re reading…

imran-khan-jacket After a long time, Asim and I are reading a book together. The last one was Three Cups of Tea. This time, each of us has got a copy of Imran Khan’s new book ‘Pakistan: A Personal History’. Asim is reading his on the Kindle while I’m content with my hardcover.

I’m not going to go into a review at this stage (halfway at the moment), but the reading process is exciting. Not that its thrilling or something we don’t know, but it’s given us a topic for lively discussions. Asim and I have always had our differences of opinion about Imran Khan and especially the PTI. The book is giving us insight into the background of the party and Imran Khan’s stance on certain issues (most of which he has already shared on numerous other forums).

A book review will follow shortly. We might consider a joint one, given our thoughts aren’t too divergent.

ps. Asim has been making fun of me for taking notes on every chapter!

Of laziness and dying grey cells

Today I was feeling really tired and bored and depressed. Didn’t feel like doing anything. Had been a few days hadn’t gone to the park for a walk. So finally Asim dragged me to the park despite my half hearted protests. Being out in the sun was exactly what I needed. It was a beautiful day and it was good for Elhaan to get out as well. Yesterday I realized something horrible: Elhaan was spending most of his waking hours infront of the TV! Of course he’s too young to really comprehend anything but he’s fascinated by the light and colours and keeps staring at it.

So now I’m making a conscious effort to not let him be in front of the TV. Sadly that means my hours of being a couch potato have been curtailed. Gilmore Girls, Desperate Housewives and 60 Minute Makeover cannot be compromised on; so I guess the Food Network will have to take a cut. Although I sprinkle in a few minutes of Al Jazeera or BBC in between mindless entertainment to feel less guilty, I think I’m losing a few thousand grey cells a day. The proof: A few weeks back when it was time to vote on the Alternative Vote; I looked at the pamphlet mailed to us and couldn’t comprehend more than a few lines. It sounded needlessly complicated. And this is after taking 4 years of political science at uni. Pretty soon, all I’ll be capable of reading would be food labels.