On Sunday (April 4), a woman caught Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan off guard with his catchphrase ‘Ghabrana nahi hai‘ over the issue of rising inflation in the country. The incident took place during Khan’s live phone call session with the public today.
At about 10 minutes into the live session, a woman by the name of Amreen Khayum from Islamabad dialled up the Pakistani Prime Minister to convey her grievances. “I am a housewife by occupation. My husband works in a private company. I want to talk about the rising prices of commodities. Our sustenance is at risk. We now have to decide whether we should pay the school fees of children or pay for the essential services,” she lamented.
The woman emphasised, “The month of Ramzan is just around the corner. But, the price of basic commodities is not going down. Please fulfil your election promises and bring inflation under control.” She then added, “Agar ya nahi ho sakta toh aap jo Day 1 se keh reh hai ki aapko ghabrana nahi hai. Toh aap humein ghabrana ki ijjazat de de (If you can’t do this, then, you must remember your catchphrase since Day 1, wherein you asked people not to be fearful. Please give us permission to be in a state of fear over this drastic price hike).”
‘Ghabrana nahi hai‘ is not effective anymore
When the woman hurled his iconic catchphrase back at him, the Pakistani Prime Minister was stumped for a moment. Fumbling throughout his answer, he said that his administration has been focusing a lot of controlling inflation.
Imran Khan had been using ‘Ghabrana nahi hai’ as an excuse to get away from criticism over his administrative failure. With this catchphrase and his stature as a World Cup-winning captain, he has been successful in silencing popular dissent and keep his critics at bay.
However, the overuse of the catchphrase has resulted it in being reduced to a object of ridicule. With viral jokes, memes, and even music videos featuring ‘Ghabrana nahi hai‘, his once-successful rhetoric seems to have lost its charm. It became further evident when a housewife in Pakistan’s conservative society rang up the Prime Minister and used the opportunity to take potshots at him for his failed policies. Although Imran Khan tried to circumvent his own failure by blaming it on US dollars and the ‘middlemen’, the damage was already done.
Inflation reaches 9.1% in March while Imran Khan remains clueless
The grim state of Pakistan’s dwindling economy is evident from the fact that inflation rose to 9.1% in March from 8.7% in February. Inflation rose by 0.36% on a month-on-month basis due to a hike in sugar, cooking oil, pulses, wheat, electricity and petroleum product prices. Moreover, non-food inflation has also been on the rise due to high energy prices. While Khan has only his catchphrase to offer, life is getting harder and harder for poor and middle-class Pakistanis.