Pakistan took baby steps towards democracy this year. Hope was revived as new leaders were sworn in and old faces bowed out. A 16-year-old held the world captive with the power of her words. Art found its lost voice.
Yet, the country remained racked by terrorism. Inflation and rolling blackouts continued to punctuate conversations. Too often, a child took a bullet not meant for him. Living became a privilege as most made peace with surviving. But what if the year had taken a different course? What would the country look like? How would we feel? We take you through a slightly different version of 2013. Loaded with imagination, humour, hope and a big fat what if…
Disclaimer: All characters and events in this report, even those based on real people and events are fictional. Any opinion expressed here is not meant to hurt any feelings and should be taken in good spirit.
The legendary Roger Waters from Pink Floyd was not the only one to share his political sentiments openly by comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. The founding members of Vital Signs were not far behind either in celebrating the new messiah, Imran Khan. They got their heads together to make an anthem for PTI this year.
The song went on to become a raging success and landed major offers from record labels like ‘ Jhoomtay Jiyalay’ in Naudero and ‘ Bhai Beats’ in Azizabad for Shahi Hasan’s studio.
The year was so full of surprises that Pakistan’s most watched VJ/ moral policeman/talent hunter, Waqar Zaka running for elections was no longer the news. But that did not take away from the fact that Zaka is a one-man parliament, with his own subculture and a cult of followers who swear allegiance by twisting their fingers in respect. Among the many politically enlightening and intellectually sound offerings from his political doctrine called ‘Zaka’s Public’, free wi-fi turned out to be the most socially relevant. He had already won our hearts by kissing that cobra and giving us the most reptilian frame in the history of Pakistani television, so losing the election didn’t really change much. In any case the government was so fond of his wi-fi reform that they made a conscious effort not to unblock YouTube in Pakistan and also poked IMDB for a day. You see that is how we spent the year ‘living on the edge’ of the proxies.
Bio: The writer is an arts and culture reporter for The Express Tribune. He tweets @Rafay_Mahmood
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, December 29th, 2013.