A columnist writing in this newspaper suggested that if 2012 were to match the outlandish eventfulness of its predecessor, Veena Malik would need to become our president.
Perhaps this was the apocalypse that the Mayans had been losing sleep over. Here, then, is her first address to the nation as head of state:
My dear countrymen, women, and Ali Saleem. Today I stand proud before you as the first elected woman president of this country and the only one to have been a model, actress, comedian, mimic, TV show host, reality TV star and something else that I forgot. I have so many diverse talents that I will apply again to the Guineeez Book of Records. Last time I did that they said they had no category for the biggest attention-grabbing sleazebag. Well, I hope being president would change that. Or would it? Anyways, I digress. When I was running for this exalted office many people tried to laugh it off. What, Veena? President!? But I kept my faith, one of the few things I kept on. If Newt Gingrich can run for president, I reckoned, any Dick can do it. And Tom and Harry too. I digress again. I wanted to keep this speech briefs but this is a momentous occasion and the biggest photo-shoot I ever did. So bare with me, please.
We all know Pakistan is in bad shape; we need a workout. I mean we need to work hard. We have hit bottom. But now we’ll go for the top. With me as your leader, I can assure you we will rise to new heights. I have ambitious plans. We will erect new buildings; build roads, overhead bridges, underpants. We will raise our economy so ordinary people could afford Gucci and Prada and Tariq Amin facials. But to achieve all that we have to make sacrifices and take very bold steps. I will do all my parts but the entire nation should contribute. I want all of you to become model citizens. To that end I would encourage the growth of modelling agencies and beauty salons. I would encourage foreign investment, especially from big, reputable international firms like Playboy and Victoria’s Secret. And for people’s shopping convenience, I intend to build strip malls all over, and very fast food joints for the hungry and needy. Also, for recreation and for promoting very soft images of Pakistan, we’ll have clothing-optional resorts in places like Swat, Lyari and Raiwind. Yes, I intend to give Pakistan a complete makeover!
Ever since I took oath, people have been asking me about foreign affairs. I have no problem with them as long as it’s done in a hush-hush way and the media don’t make a circus of your private life. Look at poor Shoaib and Sania. On a similar note, I’m for very intimate relations with India. It has the world’s biggest entertainment industry and we can all benefit from that. We should keep abreast with India, and we should pose no threat to it whatsoever; it’s a happening place and the commissions are good.
With the Americans I intend to be soft and firm at the same time, depending on the situation. They’ve been bombing us but, seriously, they have great glossy ’zines. I have yet to decide about that country and I won’t reveal too much at this stage.
For those who’ve expressed concerns about my relationship with the army and the agencies, let me be clear: I will work shoulder-to-shoulder with the ISI, go arm-in-arm with the military. I have nothing against them. Absolutely nothing.
Finally, some key appointments: Amir Liaquat as info and culture adviser. He’s a smooth talker and the silk designer-wear is chic. My old pal Muhammad Asif as PCB chairman, once he’s done jail time. And I was thinking: Mathira as US ambassador but we don’t want a mammogate now, do we?
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, February 5th, 2012.