Deep within Karachi, near the Quaid’s Mazaar, is a place called Kashmir Road. The avenue does not share much in common with its namesake, war-torn region. It is neither green, nor mountainous. And because it is a part of the MQM’s ‘turf’, the local population is not docile enough to be conquered and occupied by foreign intruders.
But a famous Kashmir Road resident, one Fauzia Wahab – proud mother of four and the most in-your-face information secretary the Peoples Party has produced of late – does have a few war stories of her own. This is one of them:
After a long night on the television talk-show circuit, Wahab makes a call.
Fauzia Wahab: Hello, is this Divine Inc.?
Voice on Other Line: Yes, this is Divine Overnight Delivery, Incorporated. How can I help you?
F.W.: I want a special delivery, and I want it asap
D.O.D: Go ahead. I’m listening.
F.W.: I need some Save-My-Soul Pizza and some Don’t-Fire-Me Breadsticks. But sent to different locations.
D.O.D.: Hmmm, not a typical order. Nowadays, I’m swamped with requests for either 70-Virgin Pies or Cricket Victory Burgers. But if you need this overnight, may I recommend Power-Crisis Wings? I have a lot of those in stock, and they come with free No-Water Sauce…they’re very popular in the summer.
F.W.: Perhaps I did not introduce myself properly. I am Fauzia Wahab, the first bi-lingual female political spokesperson in Pakistan. I have moderated seminars for the President, even for Hillary Clinton, and I’ve defended this government from the media’s onslaught better than any man! Now, I need that soul-saving pizza! As for the Please-Forgive-Me Muffins…
D.O.D.: Excuse me, madam, but I’m a little confused. You want the muffins or the breadsticks…
F.W.: What is this nonsense?! I had heard so much about you, D.O.D.! That you take care of the most special of deliveries! That you know your customers better than they know themselves! I’m very disappointed! To hell with you!
D.O.D.: My apologies. I’m just processing your order. But I have one request…
F.W.: Hah! Typical! A little dressing down and you’re as straight as the Prime Minister’s A.D.C. So, what’s this “request”?
D.O.D.: Please avoid words like “hell”. Simply refrain from all religiously linked expressions, phrases, examples, even metaphors. You see, this line is recorded. Such slips cause complications as the Insightful Service Idealists, our fervent back-office clerks, will take extra time with the paperwork, only delaying your order further. That religion stuff throws them off…
F.W.: Sorry, D.O.D. You’re right. That’s my Achille’s Heel. I was a champion debater once. I could outwit all the boys and girls, on any dais, in any subject. But this new job, these new pressures, uff! Thus, this special delivery! The Save-My-Soul Pizza is headed for all the Mullahs, especially the media savvy ones. And the Don’t-Fire-Me Breadsticks are for Isloo, Oxford and Dubai. And all because I compared the Constitution to the Quran…
D.O.D.: There, you’ve said it again! No religious symbolism! Anyway, I have taken your order. What about method of payment?
F.W.: Oh yes, of course! Well, I’m a lowly public official, so I was hoping for Bait-ul-Maal credit…
D.O.D.: Ms Wahab! More religion talk?! Not good!
F.W.: Damn! Oops, I mean fine, I will pay for it personally! With a deed. Remorse. Does that work?
D.O.D.: Sure. Thanks for your order. Good night.
And it worked! As Divine Inc started delivering, Fauzia awoke the next morning to be greeted by the following article in the most politically pious newspaper of the land:
“ISLAMABAD – PPP Information Secretary Fauzia Wahab has clarified that her statement comparing the holy Quran and Pakistan’s Constitution has been “misquoted”. Wahab said she had never prioritised the Constitution over the holy Quran. She said being a true Muslim, she believed in the holy Quran and Sunnah as the supreme law. She said she acknowledged Hazrat Umer (RA) as the best reformer in the world. Reiterating all constitutions of the world as secondary to holy Quran, Fauzia said she had never prioritised President Zardari over Hazrat Umer (RA).”