Saturday, July 2, 2011


By Rabia Ahmed

Pangrams, and you probably know what these are…are sentences incorporating all the letters of the alphabet, such as ‘the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’.

Very English countryside; you can almost hear the hunt.

There are of course pangrams in languages other than English and some of them are set to specific themes. It is impossible to translate pangrams and keep all the letters of the alphabet intact, so they are somewhat lost in translation. However, here is one originally in Italian set to a xenophobic theme.  Translated it reads: ‘that blameworthy and zealous xenophobe tastes his whiskey and says: hallelujah!’

Si Signore. Maybe this is what Ms Odho was planning to say too, only she never got the chance.

And another, originally in Polish, courtesy possibly the anti marriage lobby which orders people to ‘stop threats, haughtiness and marriages!’

A fruit and vegetable theme from the Russian goes: ‘would a citrus live in the thickets of the south? Yes, but only a fake and shrunken one!

Whereas one from the Hebrew exclaims: ‘A hyena ate some lettuce flavoured carrot, and that’s it?

One gets to hear many Jewish conspiracy theories, but this is the first about a zionist hyena.

Presuming that all these pangrams are appropriate to the culture from which they arise…that xenophobes in Italy actually follow each mouthful of whiskey with a lusty ‘hallelujah!’, that the anti-marriage lobby in Poland gives vent to slogans such as the above, that in Russia only fake and shrunken oranges and lemons survive in the south of the country, and that hyenas in the Promised Land exist on a diet of Romaine flavoured carrots and nothing else…if that is so, what, I wonder would be appropriate pangrams relating to Pakistan?

Given that the Urdu script does not lend itself to accommodating the English alphabet, entire or partial, we have no choice but to come up with pangrams in English, pertinent to the Pakistani scene. Here is one set to a bellicose theme: ‘malignant mullah Johnnies with queer frozen minds yelling appallingly bizarre verdicts into extra loud mikes.’

Which sounds about right. And a political pangram could go like this: ‘the PML-N crowd indulged in extremely flaky, jejune, zany and queer behaviour at the budget session.’

Here’s another one: ‘the People’s Party will execute its quietly dozing grandmother or barter all its values to keep its fitful majority’

And another: ‘MQM ghundas wrest bhatta from the jittery denizens of Karachi under pain of violent execution.’

Then there is: ‘Osama Bin Laden was found snoozing in bed with the execrable ISI and the Pakistan Army, quite in cahoots with our joke of a government.’

Really, this has got to be the most fun column I have ever written, even though it isn’t easy to come up with pangrams, such as, ‘a failed prayer for the juveniles of a quixotic nation: Lab pay aati hai duwa ban kay tamanna meri, zindagi shamma ki soorat ho khudaya meri.’

Do any of the children rattling off this beautiful poem in our schools ever understand what it means?

Attiqa Odho
Things happen in Pakistan, ranging from the awful to the extremely odd. This pangram below is about news that was just plain idiotic: ‘not boozy nor woozy just conveying liquor, Attiqa Odho exits jammed PK flight and resigns from APML.’

Imagine making such a fuss about Attiqa Odho and her bottles of whiskey when there are so many other problems to worry about in this country.

The rest of the news is just as silly, such as Mr. Gilani finally noticing the petrol shortage in the Punjab. He probably hasn’t noticed the CNG shortage as yet, but it will come when the time is right: ‘The PM takes note of crazy petrol shortage, by Jove, and wonders quite how long it’s existed, and why.’

Our PM’s perspicacity is always striking, not to mention our Home Minister’s capacity for mental calculation, such as when he announced that there is a “98 percent chance of Ilyas Kashmiri being dead.”

I’m really intrigued, where does this man get his information from, much less his figures?

‘If there is a 98 percent chance of Ilyas Kashmiri being quite dead, does the 2 percent mean he’s now  alive, exiled, dozing, jubilant or escaped?’

Who knows indeed?

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