I was actually going to put up a different post, on Pak-US relations, tonight but some last minute technical glitches mean that post will have to wait another day at least. Meanwhile, the next big political scandal is about to hit the headlines so I thought we could give you all a bit of a heads-up.
Video clip from Mubashar Lucman’s Show:
Some of you may have already heard about the Kim Barker – Nawaz Sharif hullabaloo (if you haven’t, I can assure you you will be hearing a lot more of it in the coming days). I learnt about it only after a journo colleague mentioned it in vague terms. Then I came across a clip of Mubashar Lucman’s show on Dunya TVfrom a couple of days ago discussing the same in his usual sensational manner (which @kamran9558 sent us). In case you don’t have any idea of what I’m referring to, it basically involves what former South Asia correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and current ProPublica reporter Kim Barker has written in her book The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan about her interactions with Sharif. Let’s just say that it doesn’t paint an entirely flattering picture of the former prime minister. The book came out in the US about a month ago and having sold out in bookstores across Pakistan (probably in small numbers), is being re-ordered in large quantities.
We all know why Dunya would be interested in making the contents of this book into an issue (Dunya’s owner,Mian Aamir Mahmood, is of course associated with Sharif’s rival party the PMLQ). Now Sharif’s other nemesis, General Musharraf has jumped into the fraycalling on Sharif to apologize to the nation for, according to him, helping Barker find the whereabouts of Mumbai attacker Ajmal Qasab‘s hometown and for leaking “important intelligence reports of the country” to her. It should be pointed out that the book is about much more than Sharif (it is scathing, for example, about Afghan President Hamid Karzai who Barker calls “whiny and conflicted, a combination of Woody Allen, Chicken Little and Jimmy Carter”). But, as far as Pakistan is concerned, I am willing to bet that the Sharif-related episodes are what are going to sell this book.
I have to admit that I found the Nawaz Sharif-related writing hilarious. It confirmed much of what one already knows about Sharif, his ability to be easily distracted, his obsession with hi-tech gadgetry and his inherent shyness which manifests itself in an inability to communicate. But unfortunately for him, it also depicts a lonely, almost desperate man. I say unfortunately for him because it is this evidence of his humanity which is probably going to be used by his political opponents to attack him.
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