Shehzad Ghias Shaikh

Actor. Director. Stand up Comedian. Improviser. Lawyer. Writer. TV anchor. Trainer. Journalistic scholar.

Shehzad Ghias Shaikh, the founder of Cogito Productions and Room for Improv-ment, has a decade of experience working in the theatre and television industry of Pakistan. He is also a journalistic scholar on theatre in Pakistan.

Shehzad performs stand up comedy all over Pakistan, the United States and Canada. He also tours with his improvisational comedy troupe and writes comedy and satire for various organizations.

Shehzad has degrees in law, arts and theatre. He offers workshops, trainings and speaking sessions on confidence building, communication, personality development, idea generation, team building, writing, acting, directing, improvisational and performing.

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Dil Bola Ebola

Originally appeared here:

It might sound like the latest soda beverage to hit the Pakistani market, or a Pakistan-only instant messaging service launched after Whatsapp is inevitably blocked by the government, but Ebola is actually a rare and deadly disease. Think of it as the ISIS of diseases.

Basically, everyone is going to die.

People have been quarantined, airports have been shut and the panic buttons have been struck. People in the Godzilla movie had reacted with lesser intensity.

Pakistan has a lot to teach the West on how to deal with adversity. If Ebola were to come to Pakistan, we would line up at the airport with roses and fake ‘Eid Mubarak’ currency notes; lining up to take selfies with it. I can see #ComeEbolaCome trending in Pakistan.


Also read: Pakistan ‘ready’ for WHO Ebola spot checks


Ebola is spread through bodily contact, and this is a country where a man cannot ride a bus without coming into contact with all parts of the anatomy; so naturally, Ebola would flourish from all the love. It is also spread through bodily fluids, which would turn all the public walls in Karachi into nurseries for the disease.

Soon, every wall in the entire city would be plastered with the message:

Yahan Ebola karna sakht mana hai”.

Whereas the West has merely adopted Ebola, Pakistanis have learnt to live with fear. We were born in it, raised by it, moulded by it. Our coastal belts are the busiest when a cyclone is around the corner. When Nilofar proved to be bewafa, it led many to theorise that the restaurant Kolachi came up with the rumour of a cyclone to increase business.

This is where Pakistan’s lack of security has worked to its advantage; even Ebola has refused to come to Pakistan.

Let us be honest, why would anyone fly into Pakistan to die from Ebola? We offer so many more interesting ways to go out.

Also, if someone uses a Pakistani airline to fly to Pakistan, having Ebola would actually be an upgrade on that experience – “Ebola; great people to die with.”

If nothing else, Ebola visiting Pakistan would at least provide all the teenagers lining up outside Moon Traders on Saturday nights with an excuse. The most common preventive measure against the disease is to use an alcohol-based sanitiser, so if you were to get caught with a bottle of Absolut Vodka on your way back from Sindh Club, you can simply smear it all over your hands and cite medical reasons.


Also read: Steps taken to keep Ebola virus out


How will we even know if we have contracted Ebola? The main signs are vomiting and diarrhoea, which, for me, are simply signs of having had an awesome dinner... at Burns Road. It is my alternative to going to the gym.

You know what we should do though? We should quarantine ourselves from the world, preventing the spread of Ebola from ever entering Pakistan. Maybe this reverse psychology will want people to come to Pakistan; people lining up outside our consulates around the world, as we recount to them one by one, every one of our visa applications they rejected, and laugh in their faces.

Once the pandemic is over, and the rest of world is as abandoned as Park Towers was after Dolmen Mall opened, we could slowly repopulate the earth. An entire earth full of Pakistanis, imagine the endless possibilities!

We would have the entire world to ourselves, when a city becomes too full of paan kee peeks, instead of getting the local architecture school students to clean it, we can just move to a new Pakistan. We would win all the games we ever play; Shahid Afridi and Misbah-ul-Haq can both be captains.

Any shortcoming could be blamed on the influence of other planets on our domestic policy. Our ministers would probably need to fly to Jupiter and Saturn to ask for foreign aid. The government can also blame everything on Ebola; ‘There is Ebola on Youtube, we cannot unblock it in Pakistan’, their statements would read.


Also read: Being Pakistani in New York: Outside 'Shitzad', it ain't all bad


But, even if we have all the territory in the world, I am sure our government would not make new provinces.

Instead we'd have Europe and Africa renamed to New Punjab; Asia and Australia would become Sindh; the Americas could be Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan; and Antarctica could be Balochistan, though Balochistan’s population is probably lesser than Antarctica’s right now, and Antarctica probably has more infrastructure, too. In fact, I won't be surprised if it turns out that Pakistani governments have invested more in Antarctica than they have in Balochistan in the last 67 years.

Like their expired medications and experimental military equipment, eventually the West will export Ebola to Pakistan; we will end up paying taxes on it as well. The national debt will increase to accommodate Ebola's expenses, and the rest, we are all too familiar with.

Till then, the least we can do is admire the resilience of our people, and laugh in the face of any incoming threat which thinks it can bring us down. Hah! I say bring it on, Ebola.

But on a serious note, please don’t. #GoEbolaGo.