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“So Putin sat down with his team, got each and every team member to give their take on the Ukraine issue on television, and later while addressing the Russian public stated, ‘I believe it is necessary to take a long overdue decision, to immediately recognise the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic.”

“So all those Western world leaders who were trying to play the international card to shore up their unpopularity at home are now trying to make good their threats of crippling sanctions against Russia.”

“Right, but what do you think The Khan will do? Delay his trip to Russia so that he doesn’t antagonize the West any further - I mean the West has considerable leverage with us, what with the FATF and the Fund’s ongoing loan…”

“The Fund’s loan isn’t going to get any easier — I mean the sixth review conditions bear ample testimony to that.”

“Indeed, but could it get tougher?”

“That I don’t know anyway remittance inflows, a major contributor to the desired way of earning foreign exchange are all from the West or Middle East so none from Russia or China and…”

“I have a feeling The Khan will go to Russia and urge Putin to recognize Kashmir dispute also, which Russia won’t, but hey it may go down well with the Pakistani public with elections looming on the horizon.”

“I thought you said playing the international card does not pay dividends, I mean Putin’s Ukraine decision, followed by his revelation that Russian troops would enter these two territories…”

“What’s happening with Western leaders isn’t applicable to The Khan, I would have you know but anyway let’s wait for the forces that be to decide what is to be done. But if The Khan tries to apply the recently released and approved foreign policy to this visit, you know in which the economy takes precedence, then he must weigh the economic factors on both sides of the argument and…”

“Both sides? Really? Which decision has The Khan taken that looks at the viewpoint of the other side?”

“Oh let it be, anyway what I wanted to point out to you was something The Khan said in a recent speech…”

“You have to narrow it down - The Khan gives at least two to three speeches every day so define recent?”

“When he said that he most often used the phrase “don’t worry” (ghabrana nahin) and this time around he was using it for the opposition…”

“Amidst general laughter of the selected audience.”

“Right and there was no joke there, it was a standalone statement if you know what I mean. And yet there was laughter. And that my friend is the true definition of sycophancy — not when you go defending someone whose financials you are unaware of, not when you defend someone who you don’t know engaged in corruption or not, but when you laugh at bad or non-jokes.”

“I thought sycophancy was when a former prime minister stands next to the daughter of a former prime minister…”

“OK, so the definition is kind of still being firmed up by Pakistani politicians…”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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