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PROMOTING DEMOCRACY

If this was ten years ago and I was scripting a Bollywood movie I would only refer to them as “The Enemy” or “Those villains from across the border”.

They never really came out and said who they were in those movies those days. “This was a terrible terrorist attack!” the saree-clad actress in the bad mockup of DD news on TV would say, “and we strongly believe it was orchestrated by THEM from THERE…”

As a kid this left me a little confused. Who are we talking about here? Who are these villains who keep hijacking the plane with Sunny Deol in it or blowing up the building with Sunil Shetty’s parents inside? And these are shitty terrorists I am talking about here. When Sunny Deol wore a headband and grunted reasonably loudly these guys just exploded.

So who were they, I wondered.
Surely not the Sri Lankans. They’re too busy bonking each other over the head. Them Nepalese are too busy joining engineering colleges on this side of the border, forming rock bands, playing the guitar and then moving on to bigger and better things, by which I mean grass. They would be the most chilled out terrorists ever.

“Land this plane in Kathmandu right now!… or whatever dude…”
Which left me with only one serious contender for the “mysterious bollywood villain country” moniker:
Bhutan.
They are a mysterious bunch no? Ever heard of a Bhutanese restaurant? Or a Bhutanese sports team of any kind? I mean have you ever even met anyone from Bhutan? There is something fishy about this whole Bhutan thing of you ask me.

Maybe we should send in Sunny Deol to get a clearer picture.
Which brings us to our neighbour of note: Pakistan.
And there are some fun things happening in Pakistan nowadays.

For instance just last week something happened that is being called the greatest anti-climax of all time after Ram Gopal Verma ki Aag.

I am sure you’ve heard of Mr. Nawaz Sharif, the ex Prime Minister of Pakistan. He is well known for several far reaching developments and world-class reform especially in the area of widespread corruption.

But ever since President Musharraf came on the scene Mr. Sharif has been living secretly in exile somewhere in the Middle East.

Musharraf, you will recall, had taken up dictatorial power in Pakistan some time ago. At the time he stated that he was doing it for the good of the Pakistani people who had been oppressed by several corrupt governments for many years. Then, after a brief but awkward silence, Musharraf let out a hearty laugh and signed himself a largish cheque as a reward for his sense of humour.

But now due to global pressure Musharraf is looking at restarting the political process.
Our old friend Mr. Nawaz Sharif immediately spotted an opportunity and decided to pounce. He declared he would fly into Pakistan soon and make a triumphant return into the open arms of thousands of loyal supporters who would be paid by the hour and an hourly bonus if his flight was delayed.
This is where Mr. Sharif made a fatal flaw. Instead of planning a quiet entrance into the country and a sudden explosive revelation of his presence, like diarrhea germs, Sharif decided to do it in the dumbest way possible.

He told everyone his flight number, seat number and inflight meal preference well before boarding. He promised to swoop into Pakistan triumphantly. “I am coming to restore democracy” he said, “and also do some quality shopping at the Duty Free outlets you find all over the gulf.”

Musharraf was ready. As soon as Sharif landed, after what must have been a long and tiring flight, he was whisked away by Pakistani police. Just as Mr. Nawaz Sharif completed freshening up, had breakfast and then began to restore democracy in Pakistan, he was whisked away again.

This time into a plane bound for Jeddah. Sharif was initially surprised but then became calm when he realized the sheer staggering impact this act of Musharraf’s would have on his frequent flier program. The free iPod was now within grasp. Yey!

The last we heard Mr. Sharif was back where he started from. Somewhere in the gulf. If I was him I would be really pissed. He hardly got a chance to meet his supporters, galvanize them or even make a little trip to the treasury to see if they had any extra dollars lying around.

I don’t know if Mr. Sharif reads this column. But if he does, he must seriously think of staging another attack on Musharraf’s rule. Perhaps a covert operation to smuggle him into the country and then manage his campaign. That would need cunning, planning and deception.
I think it’s time Mr. Sharif met Mr. Sunny Deol.

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