What is it that brand ambassadors, drama actors and legal minds like Babar Awan have in common? They dont have to believe a single word that they are saying during the course of their professional duties. Yet, the spin they put on during their stage performances and the theatrics that they use make them compelling viewership material. We are now informed that Doctor Babar Awan, recently, resigned as Federal Law Minister and master of theatrics to boot, will be defending ZAB when the case for his retrial opens in the Supreme Court. In the doctors own words: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto will be speaking through me. Those of us, old enough to recall the magic, sophistication, and charisma of ZAB, feel this is the unkindest cut because they are also old enough to remember what Awans publicly stated opinion on Bhutto was at that time The feeling in the pit of the most authentic jiyala stomachs is that of revulsion too. It really has given a new meaning to the phrase, from one end of the pendulum to another The fact remains that Awan is the chosen person by his party leadership for the role of defending ZAB. He has been able to give many successful performances of his loyalty to them by going many extra miles, with not a thought for morality or such like. On a personal level, I have always remained confused about his abilities of political U-turns and of giving Quranic dars (lesson) simultaneously, remaining at peace with himself. The opinion that Zulfikar Ali Bhuttos trial was a travesty of justice and his hanging a judicial murder is held by a large number of Pakistanis, and the retrial is not going to add to this nor can it bring him back. The retrial, however, will divert the nations attention from so many other life-threatening issues that plague it. That, I guess, is Pakistani politics at its best. Diffuse, divert and buy time seems to be the general policy of the current government. It will also play on the PPP supporter feelings that its leadership has always been treated unfairly. In one stroke of genius, the revisit of ZABs trial will bring his achievements or otherwise into focus and debate, blinding out the time from his hanging to now and the changes the popular party has undergone. Zab would not have been able to recognise the party in its current state - most of those who wield so much power in the party currently are inferior in every sense from the original quality of people that were around Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Furthermore, the PPP whose leader preferred the gallows to grovelling is a far cry today, with its compromised position on the NRO and its other known acts of misdemeanour and corrupt practices. The last 24 years of the party have been dominated by the policies and politics of the son-in-law of the party, who seems to have inherited it just as if it was a piece of property So, the retrial will allow much of the son-in-law to fade into the background and bring the ZAB magic to the fore, in time for the next elections As plans go, admittedly, this is a good one, but with both the Pakistani media and the senior judiciary having matured extensively in the past few years, the partys more recent performances will not be allowed to be forgotten by the electorate. The PPP magic will have to be revived by real people and real talent, not necessarily dynastic, that relies only on playing this card or that. Postscript: The standard practice in Pakistan, during democratic interludes, has been that favours have to be bestowed on family, friends and voters, in that order. Things, as we are beginning to notice, are slowly and gradually moving away from that set and comfortable pattern. First, there was the news that there are not going to be any Haj freebies for the next three years and all those, even from among the parliamentarians, who wanted to seek Allahs forgiveness and favour must pay for it, in the literal sense. The other interesting news emanating from the offices of BISP (Benazir Income Support Programme) is that one of its senior managers refused to play ball and did not put his required signatures to the 100 bogus appointment letters issued to favourite candidates by Farzana Raja, BISP Chairperson. The Chairperson, not to be deterred, it is alleged had forged signatures put on the letters. The matter of the appointments was also brought into the knowledge of the President on April 4. All was hunky-dory, until the said officer went public and asked even the Supreme Court to take notice of this violation. The initial reaction of the Chairperson was bravado but the organisation, when last reports came in, caved into pressure and has cancelled the 100 illegal appointments. It has reminded me of a famous dialogue of a Nana Patekar movie: n The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: tallatazim@yahoo.com