The Shah of Blah
Every time the papers and news channels excitedly announce peace talks between India and Pakistan, I shake my head sadly. Particularly after I saw Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on TV a day after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. He was in New Delhi when the attacks occurred and he delivered the usual over the top Pakistani bluster, of course: roared with rage, clenched his fists dramatically till his knuckles turned white, and thundered that we had no business to blame Pakistan for the attacks - it was very mean and small-minded of us, he fumed.
He was terrifically angry and I suspect that it's because the poor chap had no time to buy DVDs of the latest Bollywood flicks for his family and friends since he had to leave in such a tearing hurry. Tsk. Too bad the ISI never warned him to do his shopping in advance -- they were way too busy directing the horrific attacks to waste time on pathetic little puppets.
Since then we have reams of evidence, but the Pakistani government absolutely refuses to believe us. We even have audio tapes just in case they can't read. Despite the fact that David Headley, one of the chief 26/11 planners, is singing soulfully like an American Idol contestant in US custody, Pakistan is stubbornly playing deaf.
During the recent 'peace' talks, Qureshi metaphorically jammed his pudgy little fingers in his ears and screamed "Nyaah, nyaah nyaah, I can't hear you and you guys are mean and nasty too la la la la, so there!" He pretended to be really upset that Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna got a few phone-calls from India and accused the Indian government of directing the peace talks. Hello, Mr Qureshi, they were not instructing SM Krishna to brutally murder everyone in the room like your beloved ISI. If it was them at all, they were probably merely saying, "Just because these ISI puppets are uncivilised boors, don't stoop to their level and lose your sophistication and cool." Or perhaps they were translating Qureshi's weird 'clipped Brit meets guttural Punjabi' accent? I don't blame SM Krishna for being confused - it takes me ages to understand what Qureshi's saying.
Honestly, the only positive thing I have to say about Qureshi is that he's a natty dresser. But fine feathers don't always make fine birds and I think a few classes in manners are what he desperately requires. The man has clearly demonstrated that he's an incredibly lousy host! For starters, will someone please teach Qureshi how to shake hands nicely? The moment a hand is extended, he assumes it's for an arm-wrestling match and practically starts playing panja with it. I have spent a few sleepless nights wondering what is it that Qureshi is so arrogant about. Everyone in the world is aware that Pakistan is a failed nation, its most successful export is terrorism, and that it depends on hefty hand-outs from the gullible US to survive. How shameful is that?
While I love the idea of peace with a neighbour, particularly an extremely bad tempered one with more nuclear weapons than sense, I don't believe I'll be ringing his doorbell with a bottle of chilled wine and a peace pipe. I'd much rather avoid him instead and go so far as to take the stairs if he's in the elevator. It's not possible to have rational discussions with irrational beings, is it? Sort of like locking yourself in a cage with a starving, snarling man-eating lion and soothingly saying, "Here kitty, here, here kitty, I've come to discuss the possibility of peaceful co-existence."
And in case you're wondering, I'm not against the Aman ki Asha citizens for peace initiative. I will continue to read books by Pakistani authors I enjoy like Mohammed Hanif. I will continue to encourage cricket matches between India and Pakistan. I have nothing against the people - even the brain-washed, uneducated ones who spit out anti-India epithets. It is Pakistan's Machiavellian ISI and their weak, prevaricating politicians who make me sick. And so, I have a fervent plea for the Indian government: please don't get into have-you-hugged-a-Pakistani-politician-today mode. Not till they deliver justice on the 26/11 attacks, at the very least. Heck, we can't let them get away with murder!