His Imminence shall go to the ball. Not only is he its rightful belle — he has spent the last five years so very carefully filling out his dance card. Admittedly, he did get hitched a couple of times in the meanwhile; idling away the years as he waited patiently for his heart’s desire. His Master’s Voice. And now that he has come of age — he has three polls under his belt bearing testimony to this — he and the boys in khaki are going to make it official. For there’ll be no turning into a pumpkin for him. No matter how much that ugly stepsister huffs and puffs and tries to blow his house in.Truth be told, Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif have more in common than each would care to admit. Not least their penchant for a man in uniform. Yet it was Kuggoo who made the first misstep. In his mistaken belief that his then military paramour would come to appreciate the independence of unthinking and inaction that is borne of either solid immaturity or outright defiance. He honestly believed such feistiness became him. But as may or may not hold true for the majority of Pakistani men, his erstwhile sweetheart could tolerate anything but insubordination. And just to make sure that the Punjabi lion learned that he was not the king of this jungle — the latter began openly wooing Kaptaan the Greenhorn. Right before his very eyes. Kaptaan likes to boast how he alone is responsible for caging the Punjabi lion for a seemingly immodest 10 years. Instead of giving due credit to the hidden hand that feels most comfortable when wearing a velvet glove. After all, what better way is there to leave behind no fingerprints?And, oh, how it went to Immy’s head. As he began stepping out with the same uniforms who had not so long ago become bored with the elder Sharif. In fact, so unbashful was he that he began camping out right on their most capital doorstep; for an astounding 126 days. All in the name of painting his rival as an electoral fraudster who goes around puncturing tyres to take the wind out of other people’s sails. Yet it was the Panama gift-horse that really cemented the new relationship; paving the way for the typecasting of Nawaz as a veritable gold-digger. In reality, there had never been any need to hold the front page on this count. For his love of the finer things in life, including his political ascendancy, had always been well known. Even if he remained a little coy about who picked up the tab. But where he vastly spent beyond his means was in gunning for a certain enemy combatant who had landed in the dock. Breaking the previous gentlemen’s agreement was something that he would pay for. And dearly.This precipitated a new production of the theatre of the absurd; complete with implausible plot twist. One that sees two chieftains battling it out to be crowned democracy’s vanguard. Kaptaan, for his part, is wont to boast how he alone, through the innovative introduction of dharna politics and Azadi marches, is responsible for caging the Punjabi lion for a seemingly immodest 10 years. Instead of giving due credit to the hidden hand that feels most comfortable when wearing a velvet glove. After all, what better way is there to leave behind no fingerprints? Nawaz, by contrast, has found that the invisible sun does not, in fact, give hope when the whole day is done. Not least because he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his days keeping out of trouble like the soldiers say. Thus the man who was King has turned politician scorned. And hell hath no fury like it. As he grandstands against this witch-hunt, that conspiracy; all the while spilling the beans on his former sweetheart’s quirks when it comes to what goes on behind the porous doors of the eastern front. Yet he should know that such attention-seeking will never elicit sympathy. Not when it was he who threw everything away. And in doing so, abdicated the throne.Such ingratitude from one who had been showered with the most extravagant of gifts. Like his very own right-wing electoral alliance. Or the not ungenerous Rs140 million in petty cash to splash on getting his own way. Yet still he remains oblivious to the established links between being paid for and being bought. It really is most irksome. So, today, the tables stand well and truly turned. Nawaz is poised to spend his time in hell looking at the walls of a prison cell. While his replacement parties up a storm left, right and centre; batting on the stickiest of wickets. But His Imminence should know that he, too, will surely come undone. The moment he bites the hand that force-feeds. Meaning that both men will ultimately play the part of a statistic on a government chart.For the simple truth is this: civilian leaders may come and go. But the show, it must go on.The writer is the Deputy Managing Editor, Daily Times. She can be reached at email@example.com and tweets @humeiweiPublished in Daily Times, July 8th 2018.