Life is absurd, say the existentialists. They believe that its vicissitudes are not governed by fate or destiny. In fact life’s capricious events are utterly meaningless — there is no lucid narrative tying them together.
But as a strong believer in the coherence and interrelations of events in this world, I had never paid much heed to this philosophy until yesterday, two minutes and 47 seconds into the music video of Italian House DJ Junior Jack’s song “Stupidisco”, my worldview floundered like a castle of cards. There he was — none other than Mansoor Ijaz — amidst a blatant display of flesh, keeping the scorecard for female wrestlers.
Seeing the man, whose allegations shook the foundation of our civilian government, in a video featuring semi-nude female warriors was just bizarre, to say the very least.
We, as a nation, have spent several months speculating about the origins and motives of the mysterious American-Pakistani who precipitated a furore in Pakistani politics. We have seriously wondered why Ijaz came out of the blue with his allegations, brandishing his BlackBerry transcripts against former ambassador Husain Haqqani.
Many of us have desperately tried to salvage the truth from the deluge of clichés that we have been subjected to in this case — is Ijaz a RAW agent or a member of the Zionist lobby?
But for those interested in knowing more, here’s some additional information to satiate your curiosity. Not only has he made millions and negotiated between governments, Ijaz has also made an appearance in an unctuous music video. Don’t expect this piece of information to serve as an epiphany about his ‘true’ interests and identity; in fact it will just hurl you in throes of utter confusion.
At least that’s what it did to me. Just as I saw Ijaz judge a melee between women clad in bikinis, that left little to the imagination, a news alert in the adjacent tab on my computer screen conveyed that the American-Pakistani will be judged very soon. Not in a wrestling ring, but in front of the judicial commission in investigating the memogate scandal.
I tried to connect the dots — find some sort of an explanation linking the ludicrous juxtaposition of an important businessman whose words have profoundly impacted Pakistani politics, with a cameo in an R-rated music video. But it just didn’t make sense. Damn, I thought, couldn’t he just have been a RAW agent? It would have made so much more sense. But it appears that in this case, fact is indeed stranger than fiction.
At that moment, I wondered how our electronic media would debate this ‘issue’. How will our news channels, relentless in their quest for pithy political analysis, link Ijaz’s appearance in a sleazy video to the memo case?
After all, the coterie of strident politicians and screeching talk show hosts take this country’s myriad issues very seriously. They take its politics very seriously. They even take Veena Malik seriously.
So, how will they ever contextualise this new development in the momentous memogate scandal?
Well, the flurry of speculations has already begun to gain momentum. After watching the video, Ijaz’s opponents are casting aspersions on his character in an attempt to undermine him and his allegations. He has responded, alleging that those behind the video are Haqqani sympathisers, a charge that has been denied.
But the truth is that, for once, we need to stop rationalising and finding causal linkages and just ponder over the absurdity of the situation. The instigator of the memogate controversy, which has aggravated the civil-military schism like no other issue in recent times, is the same man who chuckles when the voluptuous Double D ‘gives it good’ to her opponent. There is nothing more to it; there’s no superior sense you can make out of it.
Pakistani politics has always been exciting and overwhelming, but it has now officially entered the realm of the absurd.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2012.