Our most ‘successful’ PMs were no sportsmen, but understood the local edition of the Game of Thrones better than others. Our incumbent PM can rightly be called the best of them. The democratic space surrendered on his watch couldn’t have happened in any other time. He will be mostly remembered for this, and lately for the truckload of bills that are being rushed through in the last days of this Assembly. Leaving the ones on media, data protection and online content regulation to the future Government and Assembly could be his greatest service to the cause of democracy and the future of Pakistan. But if he is doing it in the hope of coming back to power… well, good luck!
On the other hand, our two cricketing PMs had left the respective selection committees yearning for newer options soon afterwards. There is something wrong with our ‘democracy,’ and how we choose our PMs. One is compelled to hypothesize that maybe it’s not the men or the sport we choose from, but our election and selection processes that are flawed. And thus, the case for a new method in the form of golf trials!
Our incumbent Defence Minister led the last public charge on golf where he wanted to sell two of our courses. He wanted to pay off a quarter of our national debt with these sales.
Our two cricketing PMs had left the respective selection committees yearning for newer options soon afterwards. There is something wrong with our ‘democracy,’ and how we choose our PMs. One is compelled to hypothesize that maybe it’s not the men or the sport we choose from, but our election and selection processes that are flawed. And thus, the case for a new method in the form of golf trials!
Golfers and the golf courses generally are the targets of easy ire of many, because of their perceived elitist credentials. There is nothing elite about being a good golfer. It is a sport that demands greater commitment, endurance and mental faculties than many others. The interest of many successful, powerful and the intellectually blessed in the sport is thus no surprise. It seems that despite his age and experience, Khwaja Sahib still has jumping into canals and enjoys stirring controversies mind these days.
READ MORE: Tyranny And Aggression: All In The Name Of Democracy
Today, most responses to our governance issues, much like Khawaja Sahib’s jumping into the canals, are politicians’ quick fix merchandise of laptops (for the students), photo-shoots (with name plaques of projects and people), and cheques (for either the victims or achievers) or just a tweet. Collectively, these responses resemble our disorderly everyday traffic with some going the wrong way.
It’s also an election year and we may have them soon(ish). A case can easily be made against holding them right away. Let them better be late than being sorry like the last time! This time around, there is no margin for error in selecting your candidates, allies and proxies respectively. Our economy and people are already in an unforgiving mood, while our foreign investors and loan givers aren’t happy either.
Coalitions, like marriages, are tricky on the best of days. And that’s where a golfer is trained by nature to be at his best. Ask the lady or the children about their grievances in a golfing household, and only then you will appreciate a golfer’s skill in managing his off-course obstacles. Then, on the course he is in the regular habit of playing in both friendly and awkward flights, against the course, weather and his own self every time he is out there.
READ MORE: Fight Club
Since the 1700s, golf has been associated with increased life expectancy. Sixteen out of the last nineteen US Presidents played it through the thick and thin of their tenure in office. Our incumbent President is an avid golfer. Maybe it’s his golfer’s mindset and skills that have helped him survive longer in office than his cricketer friend and most of his party.
Cricketing stories from the elder Mian Sahib’s time on the pitch largely resonate with his style of politics. There is no admirable sportsmanship in these. On the other hand, Khan Sahib’s primary weakness both in and out of power is his pre-programmed cricket mindset of a two innings match where he wants separate opportunities to bat and bowl.
Good all-rounders are rare in cricket and rarer in politics. In cricket, the Khan was better known for his bowling and in politics, as an opposition leader. Then when his side had the bat, there was this laissez-faire attitude from the Captain, sitting in the dressing room and watching his playing eleven and his behind the scene supporters do their own thing, while he did his.
Golf, politics and life do not allow similar liberties, unfortunately. To be a good one in either, you have to be a master of the longs and shorts of the game and play the ball where it lays. In golf and, arguably also in politics, short game, closer to the flag (and the staff), is what ultimately matters. And a golfer cannot blame the boys (in the cricket team of course) every time, for his poor drives and putts, unlike a cricketer.
Our political (golf) courses around the country are some of the most difficult in the world. These fairways are both undulating and narrow. Many of our social issues and opportunities are laying both in and out of these with some well in the rough. Numerous bunkers surround many other economic and governance greens, today.
Arguably, you need Khan with a new ball and a tight field setting (in the opposition) for any future government to perform. Let us make the best use of him and his playing eleven, or whatever is left, for the next few years.
Men and women who count their strokes fairly in and around these are the people you need for the future. That’s also where lesser mortals will play their tricks like appeasement through truckload of bills and notifications! Some of these recent ones will cost the country and us dearly, soon enough.
Golf is also a lonely sport. It doesn’t have the same kind of showmanship and fame as cricket. On most days, people will mostly judge you for your tee-offs and your performances on the greens. In between, it is your walk alone. Twitter and social media teams cannot make up for your actions or lack of them on the course unlike what we see in today’s politics.
With almost everything been said, it is time we hold national golf trials of all aspirants for the Prime Minister’s office. We must try different political coalitions by experimenting different flights, and playing all of them on different fairways. This way we may also see the elusive promise of the never dying Bhutto and many others and their agenda out on the course rather than the crafted public appearances and messaging.
READ MORE: Fixing Imran Khan
These trials can be an opportunity to evaluate these aspirants for their dressing sense, stamina and their resourcefulness on the course. Political amateurs have a certain promise to them, as we have seen in the Punjab caretaker setup. The man certainly has some qualities. Maybe we can discover many others in this category.
We should also call out those hideous and sly advisors to these trials who come out of the woods with every change in guard in the twin cities. They usually have the strangest of ideas and bad advice wrapped in flattery. Amongst many, the idea that economy can be fixed without elections is one such notion. Another one is putting an end to Khan Sahib’s politics. Arguably, you need Khan with a new ball and a tight field setting (in the opposition) for any future government to perform. Let us make the best use of him and his playing eleven, or whatever is left, for the next few years.
We should also send out the invites to the Arabs, IMF, and the ABCs (Americans, British and the Chinese) of our politics. Having all stakeholders’ on-board and having them play in these experimental golf flights will do wonders for our future political stability and all the money we will need.
And now you all can have your own guesses about the most suitable golf course for these trials. In the meanwhile, I too shall get my kit ready for the political amateur category!