Pak: Through the looking glass
Jadhav meeting offers a glimpse of a fantasy world with inverted truth, writes Sushil Kutty.
"It's a great huge game of chess that's being played—all over the world—if this is the world at all, you know." – Lewis Carroll
Where were they? What place was this? The flight from Dubai, and then here they were – the wife and mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav abducted by Pakistan and sentenced to death for "spying – in an SUV, to where? What were they thinking when they said "humanitarian gesture"? As it turned out, it was a huge game of chess being played out in Pakistan, if this was Pakistan at all. For, what they saw was a Looking Glass World called Pakistan, which spoke with a forked tongue.
It was Christmas and the 141st birth anniversary of the father of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. And "Pakistan permits the meeting of wife and mother of Commander Jadhav with him, as a humanitarian gesture, on the birthday of the Father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah," tweeted Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal, full of words.
The SUV rounded corners and shot straight lines in Islamabad to the Foreign Office, where the world media waited. Jadhav's mother Avanti and wife Chetankul went through the door into the Agha Shahi Block of the Foreign Ministry building and stepped right into the mad-mad Looking Glass World of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
This was crazy, like: "But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
The "humanitarian gesture" was a publicity stunt. Something anything to present to the International Court of Justice in January 2018. Some Queen's Counsel's quirky idea to make a "grand gesture" and then it will be, "off with his head!" Things are getting "curiouser and curiouser" in Pakistan.
Avanti and Chetankul looked through the looking glass at their White Knight on the other side of the Don't Touch Me Glass. Orders were to only talk in English. Allah Reham Karta Hai was all talk and thunder. Eyes bored into them: A video camera on a tripod, a CCTV camera high on the wall. And a woman foreign service officer to keep an eye on them. There was a wall clock on the other side of the glass. Telephones on both sides of the glass were taped to the mantle as if they would take off on their own. Where to? Insecure Pakistanis. Mad Hatters in a funk.
If they had known this was what Pakistan's "humanitarian gesture" meant, they might not have come. They were in a strange parallel world. In the twilight zone, where all the men looked like Johnny Depp in the movie Alice in Wonderland. The Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal was Humpty Dumpty, full of words and nothing of substance. And the woman foreign officer in the shipping container – was she the evil Red Queen?
They were pawns, the wife and mother of Jadhav. Maybe Jadhav, too. And pawns unlike King and Queen cannot see their positions on the chessboard. Inside the Glass Room, it was surreal, If only they could walk through the Looking Glass. The shipping container was salvaged two days before to make a symmetrical room-shape to place Pakistan's 'catch' of the century in.
The Pakistani Mad Hatters made a spectacle of Chetankul and Avanti. And then they made a spectacle of themselves. Humpty Dumpty Mohammad Faisal sat on a wall and droned about India's face of terror, the deadly spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who could be at three places at the same time.
A short video statement of Jadhav thanked Pakistan for allowing him to "meet" his mother and wife. But the time at the bottom of the screen said it was recorded before Jadhav "met" Avanti and Chetankul through the looking glass. Shameless critters the Pakistanis were. A medical report obtained from a German doctor in Dubai made no sense to Delhi docs.
Pakistan's "humanitarian gesture" stank of nervous wolf. The Pakistanis live in a fantasy world, in an inversion of reality. A Glass World where all preconceived notions of language and manners and the way the world worked went for a toss. Where ordinary people were pawns, which can move only one square at a time.
On Monday, Pakistani newspaper Dawn said Indian author Pankaj Pandey was eyeing Pakistani actor Fawad Khan to play the lead role in the movie adaptation of his book Love Curry. Like Lewis Carroll said, "Life, what is it but a dream?" But on Monday, two women saw through the looking glass the nightmare that Pakistan was and will be. IPA
(The views expressed
are strictly personal.)