John Solecki still missing
They say there is some hope. The news has reached the Chief Minister’s House. You must be wondering what the big deal is. After all, even Ban Ki-moon has by now learnt that John has been kidnapped. I swear guys, our chief minister is a bigger gun than Moon. See, he is not very proud of being the Chief Minister of Balochistan. He is a war lord escorted by dozens and dozens and dozens of volunteer security guards. All wearing big Shalwars, sporting Sikhs-like mustache and long beard. They really look very frightening.
Even someone very close to the CM sarcastically tells me “ our Sahib [boss] is a Badshah [king].” I trust him. Then there are the other ones who, after seeing his big cabinet of 44 ministers [can you believe it: We have 65 members in the entire Balochistan Assembly and 44 of them are all ministers], call him “Ali Baba 40 chor [thieves]”. Yes, yes, yes. If the CM is our Ali Baba then surely the remaining 40 minsters are his ’40 chors’.
Can you imagine that the official and unofficial news sources are strictly ordered not to identify him as the Chief Minister but as the Chief of Sarawan (???). Don’t ask me now where Sarawan is. I think it is past this no-longer-very high pass called Lake Pass. They recently made a tunnel so no one goes from the top of the mountain anymore.
Obsession with his tribal might is not solely the problem of our incumbent CM. All the Sardars in my area behave alike. There is this interesting story I wish to narrate from Sherbaz Baz Khan Mazzari’s lovely autobiography, A Journey to Disillusionment, in order to give you an idea how these tribal chiefs in Balochistan behave.
” When Bhutto [ Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a former President and Prime Minister of Pakistan] offered the governorship of Balochistan to Khair Buksh, the Marri Sirdar coldly turned his face aside without bothering to comment. Bhutto then turned to Attaullah Mengal and offered the office to him. Attaullah observed traditional etiquette replied, ‘ I would prefer Sirdar Khair Buksh Khan becoming the Governor’. Bhutto once more faced Khair Buksh and requested him to accept the office. Khair Buksh had arrogantly turned his face away from him and haughtily announced that Attaullah should have it…
” Bhutto now revealed his growing state of despondency. He said, ‘who should I talk to?’ He then pointed out that Attullah Mengal openly used ‘ the filthiest of language’ against him, adding that it was not just directed to him, ‘but also on my office, as after all I am the President of Pakistan’, The he criticized Khair Buksh Marri . The Marri sirdar, he said, ‘is so arrogant that when I talk to him he turns his face away. I find his behavior intolerable…In an emotional voice he lashed out at Akbar Bugti and called him an egomaniac’ and schizophrenic’.
That is how our Sardars are. They won’t change. I am sure many of you remember watching the interview of Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, our flamboyant governor, who said on Samma TV: ” This [ Pakistan, of course] is the nation of corrupt people. If a corrupt person like me, who has been to the jail on corruption charges, can still become the governor in this country then what else is impossible here?”. He says he has already submitted his resignation to the President of Pakistan. Whenever the resignation is accepted, he will go home. So what will he do, asked one TV anchor person. ” Nothing,” he retorted.
You see no one trusts our Chief Minister any more. For John, he said the same thing what we have been hearing for the past many months about the Hazaras and others being ‘target killed’ in Quetta.
We are told that as soon as the Chief Minister of Balochistan Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani, returned from Islamabad to the provinicail capital, Quetta, he called an emergency meeting. Everyone, yes everyone who draws a handsome salary for doing nothing but attiring a police uniform, was present in the meeting. While doing my story, I had to open an old news story file, copy and then Ctrl+Ved. Then we could see all those, what Robert Fisk describes as ‘veteran cliches’.
” Strongly condemned”, ‘no negligence would be tolerated”, ” … will be brought to justice”, ” …can’t be the friends of Islam, Balochistan and Pakistan.” ” All out efforts would be made”, ” foolproof security would be provided” and the list goes on and on.
My friends say I am stupid. The more educated ones accuse me of exaggerations. Yet, I still stand firmly on my stance. ” Guys, you have lost half of Quetta in the hands of Taliban.” Believe it or not, Quetta is gradually becoming the next Sawat. Maybe John’s kidnapping would be written in the history books as the first chapter of Talibanized Quetta.
If you can wait, go ahead. For me, Talibans are in here.
“Who is this?” You may inquire furiously.
Right from the front of the door, comes the emphatic answer:
” Shut up. Open the door. I am flapping jaded. I have travelled a long way from Khandar to Sawat. It is me: The light of Islam— in its truest spirit. Hug me.”