Zardari’s art of oratory keeps one guessing

MR Right is mad at people who say President Zardari recounted in a recent speech scores of his ‘sins’ that were making him unpopular but forgot to mention the most? obvious one. “Which one is that?” I asked. “He makes bad speeches,” Mr Right said. “His critics think he should leave it to others in his party because some of them have better natural talent to offend the public.” “They must be referring to a party bigwig who is good at making embarrassing ‘khapay or not khapay’ (Needed or Not-Needed) comments about Pakistan,” I pointed out. “But I don’t agree with people who call President Zardari an unimpressive or weak orator. I swear he speaks with authority,” Mr Right observed.

“After his stern warning at the Benazir Bhutto’s second death anniversary meeting in Naudero that anyone daring to cast an evil eye on democracy would be dealt with severely, the demand for protective gear for the eyes suddenly went up in the market. Believe me, he sounded like the great Z.A. Bhutto who had once warned agitators not to underestimate his strength to crush them because he could be weak but not the chair he was occupying at that time. He thumped his chair with his right hand,” Mr Right added.

“She is an old-fashioned lady,” Mr Right remarked. “She has definitely lost touch with etiquettes of politics which have undergone tremendous change over the years. Look at the Lahore Lion Nawaz Sharif, he didn’t find anything objectionable in his speech. He rather expressed his confidence that President Zardari’s utterances would not harm democracy.”

“This shows you too have developed a liking for President Zardari’s style of governance, his handling of his opponents and his understanding of national issues, “I asked.
“Yes, you may call me his biggest fan,” Mr Right replied. “I adore his foxy ways to make it to the top. And I love his speeches, which contain nothing but words of great wisdom. He can become a model for other speakers who want to leave an impact in politics.”

“Really?” I could not hide my astonishment. “ Yes, I want to open a school for budding speakers in Pakistan to train them in the art of public speaking, “ Mr Right replied. “ The school will show videos of President Zardari’s speeches in class rooms as I find them extremely educative.”
“Are you serious?” I said.

“Definitely,” Mr Right continued. “He is an enigmatic speaker, nobody can make out what he is saying and who he is referring to. This is how a seasoned politician should deliver his speech.”

“But the audience should at least be able to figure out the target of his ire, the cause of his concern and identify enemies,” I said. “And why he is always taking about ‘non-state actors’ cooking up stories and hatching a conspiracy against everything, democracy, government and nation?” I said. “That’s what I like most about him, he is a man of his word,” Mr Right stressed. “He mentioned the word ‘conspiracy’ in one of his earlier speeches and continues to repeat it every time he appears in public. Others should learn from him how to adopt a consistent stand. My ‘school for speakers’ will help those politicians who change their stand every day and only confuse their followers.”? “Are you referring to Nawaz Sharif & Co, the ‘double talk’ dealers? One day, one of their leaders advises the president to quit and next day he clarifies that his party will not ask him to leave,” I said. “And Mian Sahib himself assures help to the PPP boss to remain in saddle for five years and then immediately demands removal of those involved in corruption. People are unable to understand his party’s policy.”

Mr Right smiled. “I have a very fine piece of advice for them: Don’t listen to them.” “But it doesn’t solve the problem,” I said. “As a listener, everybody wants to know the trick to read their leaders’ minds?” “For this also President Zardari has provided a solution,” Mr Right said. “Every good speaker must have a spokesman who specialises in clarifications and is able to make his speech pleasant by turning all the thorns of his speech into roses”.

Najmul Hasan Rizvi—Khaleej Time


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