PML-N’s message: To ‘Ali Baba’, from a ‘dengue brother’

Published: October 29, 2011

A supporter of Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) flashes the victory sign during a rally against Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari in Lahore on October 28, 2011. PHOTO: AFP

How does one measure the “success” of an anti-government political rally? Do you go by the statement of the political party itself? Do you talk to its supporters? To irritated residents in the vicinity who complain about traffic woes and noise pollution? Or do you gauge the temperature rising in the capital in its aftermath?

The anti-government rally lead by the Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz (PML-N) on October 28 was prominently covered by the local press and dominated conversation in Lahore on Saturday. News anchors dubbed the event as “kamyab” (successful) in the 9 o’ clock news bulletin, complete with sound bites of enthusiastic supporters professing their love for the Sharif brothers.

From the entertainment perspective, the rally earned two thumbs up; there were clowns on stilts, a would-be groom who swore he wouldn’t marry till the government stepped down and a real, ferocious looking tiger who a supporter claimed “made clear by his behaviour that he wanted to attend the rally.” Also, who knew that Shahbaz Sharif could sing?! His rendition of Habib Jalib’s Dastur was moving; not only did he hit the right notes, he also delivered the words with feeling.

On a more serious note, it is important to weigh the statement coming from the opposition and the impact it will create. Shahbaz used heavy words to address President Zardari; he called the president “Ali Baba” and his friends “40 thieves”, and also added that “they will fight Zardari like they fought dengue.”

A visibly charged Shahbaz went further to say that Zardari will be hung “upside down” and that there will be “many Tahrir Squares” all over the country. But isn’t it ironic that a sitting chief minister who was all for the Charter of Democracy is now using derogatory language to address the head of the state?

If anything, one thought that came to my mind yesterday was the strong support the Sharif brothers had when they marched to reinstate the Chief Justice in 2009. Looking at the roaring crowd of about 50,000 gathered by Shahbaz alone and the growing appetite for elections, the message delivered to Islamabad is a strong one: the PPP needs to come up with a better strategy if it wants to stay.



Atika Rehman

Editor of the Life & Style pages of The Express Tribune and an LLB graduate from the University of London.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Fah

    Altaf Hussain nai Trend saat kardiya hai .. Political singing is popular nowRecommend

  • Xurmat Xara

    All are corrupt leaders… May Allah show them the right way of Islam if not then Allah send them to HellRecommend

  • Rehman

    The dengue brother must answer what he has done in Punjab? Has police been reformed? Has crime been checked? Has patwari system gone? Is corruption less in Punjab? Is meritocracy ruling?
    they were unable to prepare results of matric, intermediate? what they will do after coming in power? yellow taxis to graduates, illiterate in assemblis?Recommend

  • Tipu

    Ander se bhai bhai, Uper se laraiiii True verse is Go Nawaz-Zardari Go….
    People of Pakistan have enough of these political moves and now they believe none except Imran Khan, Jeay Imran…..Recommend

  • laieq

    Habib Jalib was arrested several time during Gen. Zia brutal regime when Nawaz Sharif was Chief Minister of Pinjab so how on earth his brother always singing Jalib’s Poem “Mai Nahi Manta” which was for Gen. Zia & Nawaz Sharif..Recommend

  • laieq

    Habib Jalib was arrested several time during Gen. Zia brutal regime when Nawaz Sharif was Chief Minister of Pinjab so how on earth his brother always singing Jalib’s Poem “Mai Nahi Manta” which was for Gen. Zia & Nawaz Credit Goes to Jalib that” Denge Brothers become democratic “???Recommend

  • Sheharyar Ahmed Siddiqui

    Nawaz = Zardari = Gillani = Asfandyar = Shujaat = Diesel (Fazlur) = Altaf ==> All the same! Recommend

  • Anum

    I think as responsible citizens we should talk to our domestic staff, peons at work places and in general the unskilled staff and convince them into voting for people other than the PPP and PML-N. These people are so easily influenced by sums of money distributed in villages, that we’ll forever be stuck in this rut.

    IT is time to change the govt but without help/change of thinking from the masses nothing will happen except maybe a seat or two difference. Remember we the english speaking class are NOT the majority. To make a this “revolution” successful, we must influence the unskilled class. Talk to your maids, drivers, chowkidars… everyone. Explain stuff to them. These people do look up to us and, maybe when they talk to their relatives back home, and other people in their communities a change will begin. We have to do this. Otherwise we are responsible for the dismal state of affairs.Recommend

  • Haider

    Dear Dengue Brothers;
    We remember how transparent was “Qaqz Utaro Mulk Sawaro” scheme. By the way if you come into power, ALLAH na kare, how have you planned about who is going to start this scheme and earn in billions this time, you brothers again or now its hamza’s turn?Recommend

  • Parvez

    Short and sweet. My gut tells me not to read too much into the Zardari bashing. Recommend

  • Aamir Saeed

    Just rhetoric ………. dengue brothers have badly failed in Punjab in providing relief to common man.Recommend

  • Saad

    “english speaking class”, “unskilled class” ? Seriously? Just because your dad paid for you to study at LGS doesn’t mean you can think.

    The “unskilled class” can think for themselves, they vote for their own reasons (whatever those are), and do not need “convincing” from people who somehow think they’re above them.

    Your maids, drivers, chowkidars earn honest livings; what have you achieved in life except being born in a family that can afford O-level fees?

    What we need to change is our mentality; maids, drivers, chowkidars, shias, ahmedis, hindus, jews are not lesser beings. They are equal, even better that most of us.

    Political awareness doesn’t come with English.Recommend

  • M. Yousaf Butt

    All politicians are same for me, all are the second name of corruption. At this time, i would like to support Mr. Imran Khan. Hope for best for our Pakistan.Recommend

  • seeker

    I am writing after witnessing a more polite show after this one —–Imran khans,

    and I have always heard the language of “jeealas”

    so after the dengue fever combat I am ready to forgive the respected KHADEEM–ALA for the language that is not the culture of PML(N) and thats the reason it is hurting us more.

    but what I cant forgive is the fact that all the looters are joined and all the reformers are banging the drums of their indifference .

    and khan says that Lahorees are difficalt to wake———-who is snoozing even now khan sahib? Recommend

  • baqar

    Like the Kaptan said “Ik Zabardast in-swinger aaney wala hai” I wish the in-swiger reverses a bit too to clean up the sharafat of sharif brothersRecommend

  • Raja Islam

    The Sharif brothers have nothing to do with Dengue fever. As far as illiterates in assemblies are concerned, we are the ones who vote for them. If the public would vote for the most learned and the most educated candidates, then the complexion of the assemblies would change.

    We want a democracy and when people vote for their candidates of choice, we complain. If you want to bring about a change do so through the ballot and don’t complain.Recommend