The Calibri Font Is Threatening to Bring Down Pakistan’s Government
July 13, 2017 10:19 AM   Subscribe

The official investigation into the offshore assets of Pakistan's Prime Minster, Nawaz Sharif, and his family has alleged that Maryam Nawaz forged documents based on their use of the Calibri font, which was not publicly available when the documents were supposed to have been submitted. The Joint Investigation Team's report could have severe consequences for Sharif, since filing a false statement could make him constitutionally ineligible to be a member of Pakistan's parliament. The Wikipedia has also gotten involved as a reference for the history of Calibri and when exactly it might have been available. posted by Copronymus (37 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
Shoulda used Zapf Chancery.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 10:27 AM on July 13 [6 favorites]


I was checking to see if this had already been posted. It's obviously incompetent forgery - all it needs is Nawaz Sharif grousing about how he would have got away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids.

(Because if 2017 needed one more thing, it was further instability in a nuclear-armed country that is flirting with "failed state" status.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:27 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Villains: always too arrogant to check Wikipedia and RTFA.
posted by bile and syntax at 10:36 AM on July 13 [7 favorites]


So Pakistan could soon be sans Sharif?
posted by Sangermaine at 10:37 AM on July 13 [234 favorites]


I feel like this is straight out of a Neal Stephenson novel.
posted by Fizz at 10:38 AM on July 13 [19 favorites]


I initially read this as the Calibri Front, which led to all kinds of interesting speculations about shadowy conspiracies of typographic extremists working behind the scenes to topple governments as some kind of statement about... serifs or something.
posted by Naberius at 10:41 AM on July 13 [16 favorites]




This is what happens when you listen to some hipster telling you you can't use Comic Sans.
posted by Segundus at 10:46 AM on July 13 [8 favorites]


I caught a landlord by dint of something very similar (and even more stupid) in relation to faked (or at least fraudulently misrepresented) deposit protection information, in only recent months. I really enjoyed doing the detecting to catch them out (and writing the letter to their solicitor pointing out that they should have known that their client was lying to them!). I think I'd quite like being a copper in some ways. Seems like there are plenty of opportunities for combining being a smartass and a bastard.
posted by howfar at 10:50 AM on July 13 [7 favorites]


So Pakistan could soon be sans Sharif?

In an anonymous office building, on the outskirts of a major city, there is a telephone. It is on its own desk, with no chair, and nothing else on it. No one sits there, but two employees always sit within earshot of it. They are not always the same employees, and they do other things as they sit at their own desks, but they have been told about that telephone and the requirement to keep it "staffed", as the instructions say. They also know what to do when it rings.

It rings.

The two employees glance at each other. The senior one nods and slides his chair to the desk. He breathes deeply and picks up the handset.

"Hello?"
"Sangermaine."
"Sangermaine. Please spell."
"Sierra, alpha, november, golf, echo, romeo, mike, alpha, india, november, echo."
"Sangermaine, sierra, alpha, november, golf, echo, romeo, mike, alpha, india, november, echo."
"Yes."
"Thank--"

But the line is already dead. The senior employee opens the desk's only drawer and takes out a clipboard. It is labeled only The List. He carefully writes the name "Sangermaine" upon it, then replaces it. He slides his chair back to his desk. The junior employee looks over at him, an eyebrow raised in an unspoken question. The senior employee knows what question she would ask, if she dared. He ponders for a moment, then nods. The junior employee raises her other eyebrow. The senior employee knows what question she would ask, if either of them dared. He breaks eye contact and shudders, almost invisibly.

It is The List. He adds people to it from time to time. That is all he knows. That is all he wants to know.

posted by Etrigan at 11:00 AM on July 13 [84 favorites]


Seems like there are plenty of opportunities for combining being a smartass and a bastard.

I went to law school.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:06 AM on July 13 [17 favorites]


I feel like this is straight out of a Neal Stephenson novel.
It does feel Rather familar, doesn't it?
posted by roystgnr at 11:53 AM on July 13 [11 favorites]


Wikipedia Brown and the Case of the Embezzling Pakistani Prime Minister
posted by kandinski at 12:05 PM on July 13 [7 favorites]


While I will believe anything that alleges a Pakistani politician is corrupt it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if it turns out that the document was made in 2006 but with some pirated preview version of Office.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:16 PM on July 13 [3 favorites]


So Pakistan could soon be sans Sharif?
posted by Sangermaine


international fontroversy!

Mrs lalochezia's pun which I am reposting
posted by lalochezia at 12:21 PM on July 13 [8 favorites]


I went to law school.

Oh so did I. It's not so much that I don't have the opportunities already, just always considering other chances to indulge my personality defects.
posted by howfar at 12:40 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


I mentioned this story to a friend of mine and he pointed me at this story in The Washington Post from 2012.

From the article:

"The prosecution asserted that the coup was planned in 2003, citing unsigned documents on compact discs it claims were produced by the defendants at the time. However, even though the last-saved dates on these documents appear as 2002-2003, they were found to contain references to fonts and other attributes that were first introduced with Microsoft Office 2007. Hence the documents could not have been created before mid-2006, when the software was released."

Unfortunately in this case, the fact that these documents were obvious forgeries was not enough to change the court opinion.
posted by gregvr at 12:51 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


> In an anonymous office building, on the outskirts of a major city, there is a telephone.
Flagged as fantastic - this should be a part of the Laundry Files.

posted by RedOrGreen at 1:06 PM on July 13 [5 favorites]


Not a font of wisdom
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 1:06 PM on July 13 [3 favorites]


Oh so did I. It's not so much that I don't have the opportunities already, just always considering other chances to indulge my personality defects.

High five!
posted by bile and syntax at 1:09 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Heh. I thought this might get posted here. The puns are flying all over my Facebook feed. And yeah, it's funny. But we are less than a year away from our second peaceful transition from one democratically elected government to another. I'd kind of like to see that happen. Nawaz Sharif should resign, though.
posted by bardophile at 1:21 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


some kind of statement about... serifs or something.

The Road to Serifdom?

(I'm sorry)

(but I also forwarded this around the office because Calibri is one of our approved fonts.)
posted by emjaybee at 1:21 PM on July 13 [3 favorites]


A post on the Hacker News thread about this story points out that Calibri and other Microsoft fonts are also at the center of an investigation in Turkey about an alleged coup plot in 2003.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:41 PM on July 13


Wikipedia Brown and the Case of the Embezzling Pakistani Prime Minister

He proudly entered into evidence a ceremonial sword given to him as a memento of his time in the Pakistani Navy, engraved "Presented 5 December 1971 for Valorous Battle During Operation Trident, After The First Battle of Kirachi"
posted by achrise at 1:49 PM on July 13 [8 favorites]


Calibri was made by my typography professor. He may know when it was created.
posted by romanb at 2:27 PM on July 13 [11 favorites]


Well, he may not. It might have been an immaculate fontception.
posted by ZaphodB at 3:26 PM on July 13 [6 favorites]


So Pakistan could soon be sans Sharif?
posted by Sangermaine


After that pun, Etrigan's story, and lalochezia's comment, we should have had this post bronzed.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:15 PM on July 13 [3 favorites]


After that pun, Etrigan's story, and lalochezia's comment, we should have had this post bronzed.

And failing that, kerned.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 4:34 PM on July 13 [14 favorites]


I would Copperplate it, myself.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:59 PM on July 13 [7 favorites]


Obligatory link to one of the greatest mefi comments ever. If Calibri's going to bring down a government, it's going to do it with light cavalry clad in copperplate gothic and armed with arials.
posted by borborygmi at 9:16 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


Yet more evidence for my Hollywood Screenwriter Reality theory.
posted by hippybear at 1:06 AM on July 14


Yeah, I'd like to thank those few people who favorited my weak one-liner comment not knowing what was coming down the road. A forgettable amuse bouche before one of the finest meals you will ever eat.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 10:12 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


I bet Sharif don't like it.
posted by Quindar Beep at 1:01 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


There's the unlikely possibility that the documents were set using TeX and CM Sans/Latin Modern Sans, as they look almost identical
posted by scruss at 6:40 PM on July 14


This is fucking bizarre. Why does anyone care what Wikipedia says about when the font was available? The Office 2007 beta was released in 2006. If that's how incompetent the JIT is, then all 275 pages of that report might as well be crayon scribbles saying "Fuck Sharif".
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:47 PM on July 17


This story has led to, quite possibly, one of the best headlines I have ever read:

"Awesome story of Calibri, the font that may leave Pakistan sans Sharif"
posted by Betelgeuse at 12:24 PM on July 18




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