Recently, Jamshed Dasti, the man who put the Pakistan cricket team and its then captain Younis Khan through a severe inquest on match-fixing allegations, suffered an ironic personal embarrassment when it emerged that he was guilty of the kind of deceit he was popular for railing against.
After years of subjecting us to his holier-than-thou stance against foul play, it was revealed that Dasti himself faked an academic degree in order to qualify for a seat in the National Assembly. He was promptly forced to resign from his seat in the NA, not to mention his position as chairman of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Sports, an office he used to launch his regular vitriolic attacks against Pakistan sports.
For me, a passionate Pakistan cricket supporter who is tired of having every major loss blamed on match-fixing by uneducated, short-sighted critics, the overdue come-uppance of Dasti was extremely cathartic.
Like them or not, the Pakistan cricket team’s fortunes are tied to our own aspirations, and to see them being needlessly dragged through the dirt by Dasti’s witch-hunt mere weeks after winning the Twenty20 World Cup was as traumatic for a number of cricket followers as it was for the players themselves. It always hurts when your heroes are accused of something underhanded, and this team has enough shortcomings without having to invent false ones.
Moreover, this default “match-fixing” argument constantly levied against the team is counter-productive and deflects attention away from the actual problem, which is the quality and cohesiveness of the team itself. It is endemic in our politicians to displace blame towards extraneous factors rather than look inward and tackle the harder issues. Match-fixing allegations are a convenient way to ignore the obvious: our team has a psychological barrier against beating Australia and generally performing consistently in the longer versions of the game.
Dasti is part of a long line of finger-pointers who have used their visibility to castigate the team whenever they suffered a reversal of fortune. I therefore couldn’t help but take smug satisfaction at the public exposure by the Supreme Court of his hypocrisy. Apparently, he was unable to answer basic questions about Islamic tenets.
The revelations at the hearing bring to a close a distinguished term of service by Dasti, during which he never shied away from fighting tooth and nail for what he believed in, indeed actually engaging in fisticuffs to get his point across. However, Dasti need not despair. There are plenty of other career options open for a man with his select brand of skills in duplicity. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Dasti could fake a birth certificate and have his date of birth raised by 30 years. Then, armed with the forged respectability of an elder statesman, he can put his oratorical skills to use by campaigning for better pensions plans, social security benefits and medical care for senior citizens such as himself.
2. Dasti could fake a marriage certificate and have it show him as being wed to an American citizen. Then, after applying for a Green Card, Dasti could fake an airline ticket and shift to the US and become a beacon of hope for the countless Pakistani expatriates yearning for a political voice in Washington. It would be a simple matter of transferring his well-honed political skills to a different forum, and I know a lot of Pakistanis in the US who would view Dasti as their saviour. I can see it now – Dasti on the floor of the House of Representatives, threatening a congressman with a headlock if his demands for lower interest rates on international student loans aren’t entertained.
But maybe Dasti is done with the rat race. Admittedly, his departure from the halls of parliament didn’t come in the best possible circumstances and he may be bitter about the way he was treated. In that case, Dasti could fake his death certificate and have himself pronounced deceased. Not only would he be left alone by the media and his detractors, he could also cash in the various life insurance policies he had taken out under his name and live off them for the rest of his natural life. A fittingly fraudulent end to a supremely fraudulent man.
Farooq Nomani is a Karachi-based lawyer who is willing to represent the PCB for free. He blogs at whatastupidity.blogspot.com.