Happy New Year!

Even the staunchest of cynics can’t help but allow at the very least some inklings of positivity in the system on New Year’s Day. Indeed, this particular space is dedicated to generating optimism on a weekly basis, but of course, it’s that much more pronounced this time of the year.

There is so much to look forward to in 2019. It’s so exciting to think that the coming year might turn out to be even better than the previous one. However, with limited space, we might have to limit our scope, and hence let’s just focus on the federal and what their New Year’s Resolutions should be.

Let’s start with the human rights ministry. How many global surveys and stats would Shireen Mazari deny in 2019? After lecturing the European Union on religious persecution, perhaps it’s time to expand the horizons this year and target Canada, Japan or New Zealand? Which diplomat would Mazari call out on Twitter? Oh and most importantly hopefully she’ll patch things up with Momina Mustehsan.

Shehryar Afridi, who was lauded in this space in detail last week, might continue to have to receive files and pass them on next year – and one can’t say one isn’t envious! However, it might prove to be hard to top the video leak at the end of 2018. Maybe another video with the Tehrik-e-Labbaik Pakistan, or the Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamaat leadership?

Where Boom Boom Afridi just has to forward files and read out statements that are written for him, Shah Mehmood Qureshi does so in a much more glamorous portfolio, and with a lot more experience at a pretentious helm under his belt. Unfortunately, Qureshi couldn’t fulfill his 2018 resolution as he could not become the Punjab Chief Minister. Who knows for 2019 he might be looking for the same! He should have a happy year, as long as he isn’t forced to have a say in the foreign policy.

Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry would be hoping to continue to educate the world – beginning with the entire Pakistan cricket team – about who Sherry Rehman is. Unlike other politicians Chaudhry takes pride in bringing his rivals to the spotlight and promoting them on Twitter. On the information front Fawad Chaudhry would look to top his outrageous claims about the state of the Pakistani media. It might be difficult to outdo that but we’re confident he can do it. Oh and he might want to add to his tally of colleagues and party members whose statements he would contradict in 2019.

Perhaps the one federal minister who might find it the hardest to top what he achieved last year would be Asad Umar. But who knows he might actually get an IMF bailout that would pale the money that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have given Pakistan. One thing is for sure that he would be hoping to take that dollar to over 150. With the rupee holding the US dollar’s price to around 100 for almost five years, this jump to 150 would be the swiftest fifty since AB De Villiers.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s New Year’s Resolution would of course be to give another perfect score to himself at the performance review at the end of 2019. His second biggest wish would be to see his cabinet learn from him and further improve their grades at the end of the coming year. He would also be hoping to further drive home his austerity drive after converting what would’ve been his official home into a university and selling all the resident buffaloes. As long as he’s not given charge of the real stuff that the country he rules should focus on, PM Khan should have another wonderful year.


The writer is a Lahore-based


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