26 Oct 2012
Secret army safe house
Lt. Zia knocked nervously on the closed door and waited for permission to enter. He had strict instructions to leave the occupants of the room in complete privacy, but owing to urgency of situation he felt he had no other option other than to comply with what the caller on phone asked for. Door was unlocked by General Asgar who inquired in a level voice the nature of business. Lt. Zia just told him name of the caller and handed over the phone. General Asgar put the phone to his ear and ambled up to the sofa on which he was sitting earlier.
His ear was blasted by the frantic voice of Wasim Akhtar who seemed to be scared out of his wits.
“What the hell just happened General ? Bombing of Naqvi's rally !! I tell you General, we are all screwed.”
General Asgar asked mildly, “What are you talking about Wasim ? “
“PPP rally in National stadium was bombed ! Switch on the TV for god sake. Naqvi is seriously injured and his son blown to pieces. Where are you hiding General ? Why the hell you did this ? Didn't you think of the consequences ?” Wasim shrieked.
Voice of General Asgar suddenly took on a hard edge, “What makes you think that I'm behind this attack, Wasim ? It's a very serious allegation that you are making “
Surprised by the change in tone of General's voice Akhtar could only manage to stammer “But, but... what, err who could have done this ? “
“How am I supposed to know this ? Do I look like an oracle ? Keep watching TV for any updates”
“But everybody will accuse me only. PPP workers are already baying for our blood. What the hell am I supposed to do now ?“ Akhtar's whining voice made General Asgar wince. Maintaining his composure, he replied in a cool voice, “Whoever did this will soon take responsibility. Your name will not be dragged in to this. “
“But what about those crazy Sindhis ? They've already made up their minds that I'm behind this ! Their leaders have already started mobilising supporters to avenge this bombing. “
“I believe that your men are well trained and suitably armed to defend themselves against any such stupid attacks. You yourself are guarded well enough” General Asgar smiled to himself.
“But you are missing the consequences. Even though Mushtaq was not a candidate, elections can be postponed indefinitely due to his death. All the efforts that we had put in too discredit Naqvi and Gilani will be neutralised by the sympathy wave. “
“You don't need to worry about that either. You have my support and only you'll win these elections. When was the last time free and fair elections were held in Pakistan anyway? “ General Asgar laughed loudly at his own joke.
“Are you really sure about this General ? Remember our fortunes are tied to each other. If I go down you go down too”
“ I realise that very well Mian Wasim. Both of us will certainly get what we both need. Just relax and stop worrying about it. I want you to do one thing for your own sake. Organise a press conference as soon as possible and announce your shock and sorrow at this tremendous loss to nation. Just don't overdo the sympathy bit and go out publicly. Wait for someone to take responsibility for the attack. Do you understand me ?”
Wasim Akhtar replied like an obedient school boy to his teacher, “ Yes General. I understand perfectly well.”
General Asgar put down the phone and smiled at the only other occupant of the room, General Mao Hu of People Liberation Army, China. “ You might have guessed it by now, it was future PM of Pakistan asking his trusty general for advice in face of what he thinks is a colossal crisis”
General Hu replied, “Of course. It was only logical that he did. I assume that you were able to calm him down. Everything going according to plans ?”
“As always. Would you mind if I turn up the volume on TV ? I think that they are broadcasting what I've been waiting for.”
They both turned their attention to TV screen on which the news channel was playing voice recording of a man who claimed to be member of a new Paksitani Islamic organisation, Al Mujahideen committed to cleanse Muslim nations of corruption and immorality. He claimed full responsibility of the attack on PPP rally and blamed Naqvis of bringing shame to whole Islamic world by their corrupt ways and allegiance to kafir USA. Within minutes of broadcast of this recording, another channel played a recording made by Haqqani's eldest son who claimed that he had personally planned this attack to avenge the death of his father due to intelligence provided by Paki govt. Soon, all the channels were full of self-styled experts debating and analysing this new development and “who-really-dunnit” began in earnest.
General Asgar turned down the volume and remarked, “ These TV channels remind me of a circus that I once visited as a child. . Shall we resume discussing our plans ? “