Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I was conceived out of passion. My mother was cruel and didn't want me. My father died when I was a babe and left me in the hands of friends and followers. He was a wise man, but I cannot say the same for those who came after.

I was beautiful, and I was valuable. Kings of distant lands sought my favour, and I realized early in life that I was very special. They all seem to have my best interests at heart.

She paused, and a sad smile passed her bluish lips. She took out another Morven cigarette and lit it with the remains of the last one.

Corrupt uncles fought to be my guardians. They would contest in public and tell the people their plans for me. Some would take over by force.

Some of them dressed me up and took me to parties where I mingled with the finest of dignitaries. I would stay up late and my education was largely ignored. Others were unbending and harsh, and I was not allowed to do much except follow rules.

I forgive their shortcomings, and I forgive their inadequacies. I appreciate that they tried to the best of their abilities, or if they didn't, I appreciate that they pretended to.

I'll even forgive them for being weak. They never realized their own strength, and their own courage. Instead, they give into pressures from foreigners, or succumbed to greed.

I began to slowly understand my guardians for what they really were.


Her voice was getting shaky, and she paused for a while. I got her water, and she gulped it down before continuing.

Would you do that to your daughter, your imaanat? What about to your mother?

She reached for her pack of cigarettes and found it empty. She scowled, and I offered her my imported Dunhills. She saw the fancy packaging and jeered a bit.

Do you have a daughter? You do? Haha okay. This might sting a little bit, then.

She went on to explain her theory on how we all pimp out our daughters.

I'll admit that she made me uncomfortable. It wasn't her speech as much as her weathered face and sunken, somnolent eyes that gave me chills. She was beautiful, and I could not look at her for too long. I tried to focus on what she was saying and stared down at my notepad.

...and then you send them to college, still monitoring their every move. Be home by this time, be chaste. Do well in college. Who will marry you?

And you sell them of to the most eligible bidder. You celebrate with grandeur beyond your means as she leaves your house and gets into the bed of another. Oh, but you're progressive, and you smoke smuggled cigarettes. Maybe your daughter sleeps around and offers a trial run to potential breadwinners?

On the surface she was tough and unshakeable. She was like a stone. But as her eyes began to water I realized that she had never had the childhood that she deserved. She did not get the love and education that should be every child's birthright.

I have been ravished by my own and by others. Who will have me now? Sure, they still come because I know many secrets. They have their way with me, and they leave. They all do. Who would make this illiterate their own? I have borne many, many children, but they do not think I am their responsibility, for there are other bastards who have benefited much more. What can I teach them, given how little I was taught? I feel like I am beyond repair. I feel forsaken, and worthless.

I am Pakistan, and nobody will fight for my dignity.


I write this emotive and somewhat childish piece in the light of OBL's death. I am awash with mixed emotions, the net of which is overriding fear and indignity at being Pakistani. As our government remains quiet, I can only hope that this is not taken as an admission of guilt.

Whether Osama has been dead for a while- and there is enough evidence to support this- is now inconsequential and subsequent surfacing of proof to support this will be suppressed. It is no secret that in a set-up, the better (read: richer) lawyer wins.

Maybe we should be glad of the intellectual incapacity of the average american, but who will quell the reservations of prosecutors at the US Dept. of Justice? Who owned the land? How was the land acquired, and from whom?

There is general agreement as to the best course of action for Pakistan: to deny any involvement in, and knowledge of, OBL's whereabouts.


I leave y'all with a question:

So how many of you of you get up and leave Packistan if given the chance? That is, if you weren't weighed down by that little green booklet that signals red for most international authorities, and suggests that you shouldn't be passing through any ports.

I'd like to sign off with a noun, but given my location, any geopolitical pundit would surely consider this a pun.



FadingRed said...

Wali! Respect

karachikhatmal said...

absolutely excellent post - superb. its an analogy many have tried and failed miserably with. you've done it remarkably well.

that said, i was extremely disappointed to read these lines: "There is general agreement as to the best course of action for Pakistan: to deny any involvement in, and knowledge of, OBL's whereabouts."

why? how can denial do us any good? if you put forth the idea that we have been fucked over without being cared for, then why come out in the end and ask for everyone to forget what's happened? its as if the woman in your story ends by saying please don't write anything in your notepad and tell people that i am a virgin.

i understand, its difficult rationalising this situation without feeling despair, and helplessness at the rushdie types rushing to condemn us. to those, i offer you this http://www.chapatimystery.com/archives/homistan/at_sea.html

best refutation you will read.

but for yourself, don't allow despair or denial. if we are a whore, then we shouldn't allow the world to continue its charade of condemning whores, or promiscuity, because hey their sheets aren't clean either. great post, once again. a joy to have read it.

(also apologies for butchering your analogy, but hey)

wali sheikh said...

Ahmer, thank you so much for taking the time to go through my piece, and for your constructive criticism.

I do not consider my self a political analyst, nor am I well-informed about the goings-on in the region and world at large. I will shamefully admit that I have fallen prey to the intellectual complacency, ignorance and hunger for social success that characterizes most the people in my age and socio-economic bracket.

As for the piece itself, it was written in haste. Like you mentioned in an earlier post, I too infrequently indulge in writing to validate my intellect or prowess as a writer and to reassure myself that I am not just another cog in the machinery of unbridled industry.

As for the statement that disappointed you, I have no explanation to offer. It was what I could make out from skimming through some of the articles that popped up on my fb news feed, and my understanding of the persona of Pakistan as constructed by our continued capitulations in the international arena.

I do understand that we must keep shouting out, and I too will now aim at consistency. Our voices may be lost in their din, but let us cry out in unison. Let us sound a deafening roar!

I will condemn them in song, protest in dance and paint a beautiful picture. But they are ugly.

Maybe you could make a film?

Thank you for the link. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the piece. I do not know of many blogs worth reading, and you seem to have a network of like-minded individuals who churn out great work. Please keep me in the loop!


karachikhatmal said...


it was an excellent read, as are many others on this blog. very glad to have found your writing via karachivagabond.