Here’s what you do if you want to change the way things are run in your country — you run for elections! At least that’s what sensational VJ-turned-TV show host Waqar Zaka thinks is the best solution. “If you want change, come into power,” he says.
Zaka, who boasts a cult following owing to his dare show Living on the Edge, says he wants to ‘test’ his fans. “My fan following is diverse — from Nazimabad’s gutka-chewing audiences to Grammar School girls. I am assessing how much my fans love me,” Zaka smirks, adding, “Facebook ‘likes’ do not guarantee a fan following. If my show’s ratings are soaring high, then they should translate in a strong voters’ turnout for me.” He also boasts that the (burger crowd) that doesn’t participate in other shows, makes an exception for Living on the Edge.
The TV personality seems serious about participating in this year’s general elections from NA-253 constituency. “I am approaching different political parties to get a ticket,” he says. “If I am not given a party ticket, then I will run for elections as an independent candidate.” His efforts will surely help his upcoming show Main Banoonga Minister get eyeballs in this highly-charged elections environment.
Everyone said no — except the MQM
“I have reached out to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) so far,” Zaka says. “I am open to joining any political party which gives me a ticket.” He confesses, however, that the only party that has paid heed to his requests is the MQM. “I am not a supporter of the MQM,” he clarifies. “But it is the only party that welcomed me! I even went to Bilawal House — they did not let me in.”
Zaka then shared an anecdote about his encounter with the ANP’s Bashir Jan, who he claims did not entertain him because ‘the party doesn’t hire men with long hair’. The TV show host is hopeful that the courts will declare him eligible for elections, and promises to ask his fans for advice on which party to join.
Yes to entertainment
“You might laugh at my manifesto, but all the points speak for people’s needs,” begins Zaka, defending his ideology lest one thinks it’s a joke. Unveiling his election strategy, he elaborates, “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,” says Zaka. “Everyone wants to become famous. But when they don’t get that fame, they resort to protests [for entertainment]. This is why you see people grinning while they crash and burn public property in the name of Ishq-e-Rasool.”
He promises to provide free Wi-Fi and gaming zones before electricity and water. “Bijli and paani come way after that — people want tafreeh [fun] first.” He solemnly adds that he will resign if any incident of target killing is reported in his constituency. “I will do things that are possible,” he says, adding that he has been daring enough to handle cobras and crocodiles on set.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2013.
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