On April 1 2013, I logged on to the Express Tribune online page as a routine and was taken by surprise by this little headline in the right corner that read: ‘Waqar Zaka hopes to go from cobra to constituency.' Though I am not one of Mr. Zaka’s fans, god knows why my intuition made me click that story and I went on to give it a read. I already knew about the cobra part, but the constituency bit smelled fishy considering the Elections 2013 are just round the corner – And there I had it – Waqar Zaka plans to contest the Elections 2013.
Initially, like many others, I thought he has tried to pull off an April 1st prank (And I secretly hope so). However, considering that the news was published in the mainstream news media I was forced to assume that he honestly intends to join Meera and Musarrat Shaheen’s league (I mean the celebrities who intend to contest the elections). Honestly speaking, there is nothing wrong with that. In a democratic setup he has as much right to contest the elections as anyone else. Despite that, the story about his election plans had so much juice in it, that I was tempted to do a write up. Before I go on with carrying out an autopsy of his statements, I would like to apologize in advance to his fans before they start sending me hate mails.
I agree with the 'devil' bit. *scared*
For those who don’t know, Mr. Zaka is a VJ-cum-host and his claim to fame is a “dare show”. He is also famous as Mr. Daredevil for the ‘daring’ stunts he has pulled off such as kissing the cobras (We don’t have any laws regarding wildlife molestation, do we?). So our Mr. Daredevil intends to contest the elections 2013. This is what he has to say.
“My fan following is diverse — from Nazimabad’s gutka-chewing audiences to Grammar School girls. I am assessing how much my fans love me,”
“…. If my show’s ratings are soaring high, then they should translate in a strong voters’ turnout for me.”
Apparently he wants to test his fan-following through his vote bank. Now, I do not know how does he expect his audience of school and college going kids (who are mainly under 18 years of age) to be eligible to cast a vote. Putting that fact aside, As a prospective voter, I would like to ask him some questions based on his statement:
1. Does he mean people living in Nazimabad are gutka chewers? Or, does he mean that his audience from Nazimabad are gutka chewers?
With that statement he should forget about any political support he can get from people living in Nazimabad – except for the gutka-chewers may be.
2. Why Grammer School? And Why girls only? Are boys and non-Grammarian girls excluded from his fan-following? Are non-Grammarian girls any inferior?
By the way I am a girl, I am not a Grammarian and I am offended.
Moving on, Mr. Zaka expressed his intent to contest elections from NA-253 but claimed that while he is open to any party who gives him a ticket, none of the parties except MQM were welcoming towards him. He also alleged that ANP was discriminatory against him because of his long hair. I feel sorry for him regarding the long hair bit (no pun intended). That apart, NA-253 is a major MQM stronghold and Haider Abbas Rizvi is the primary contestant from that constituency. Therefore, I do not get why MQM would offer Mr. Zaka a ticket on that seat.
The most important and intriguing highlight of the story is Mr. Zaka’s manifesto. He claims that his manifesto addresses people’s needs. Here’s what he is offering:
“Education weducation bakwas baatein hain. Perhne likhne se insan lethal banjata hai(Education is all non-sense. It makes one lethal).”
“My basic idea is to open the doors of entertainment for the masses.”
Apparently, he means all the target killers, kidnappers, insurgents and ‘Namaloom Afraad’ in the country belong to a highly qualified academic background considering the extent of their lethalness. As for the entertainment part, many of our politicians are already offering that ,ranging from Altaf Bhai’s entertaining press conferences to Nawab Aslam Raisani’s sense of humor.
Mr. Zaka further believes that provision of free Wi-Fi and gaming zones is more important than electricity and water.
“Bijli and paani come way after that — people want tafreeh [fun] first.”
This one line statement gives rise to many questions.
1. If free Wi-Fi comes before electricity, then how will the Wi-Fi device operate?
2. Will there be an alternate energy source to run the Wi-Fi devices (something like Agha Waqar’s water kit, may be)? Or, Will free generators/ UPS will also be provided to facilitate smooth internet access without disruption.
3. Most of the ‘Ghareeb Awaam’ might not be able to afford PCs and Laptops, and Shahbaz Shareef gave laptops to only academic high achievers. Since a Wi-Fi device is incomplete without a PC, laptop or a smartphone, will that be provided for free as well? Also the not-so-educated masses will need free training in order to be able to access the internet.
Lastly, I have a million dollar question to ask Mr. Waqar Zaka on a personal note.
Dear Mr. Zaka,
If education is not on your list, and you want to provide free Wi-Fi solely for the sake of entertainment, what kind of entertainment do you want people to have from the internet?
You can always answer that to me privately. I won’t tell anyone. Promise. (*wink**wink*)
An edited version of this article has been published on Express Tribune Blogs on April 2 2013.