An imaginary conversation between Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan Army Chief in the aftermath of the Surgical Strikes conducted by India.
(It’s just another working day as usual in the Pakistani capital. The Surgical Strikes have happened and everyone is blissfully unaware of it. PM Nawaz Sharif is sitting in his office sipping green tea and nursing his forehead. His eyes look red and dark circles surround his face and he is in a zombie like state. All of a sudden, the intercom on his desk buzzes, startling him and making him spill the hot green tea on his lap)
Nawaz: Ahyiiii ….. damn!! I must remember to reduce the bloody volume.
(Reaches for the intercom and turns it on)
Nawaz: What is it? I told you not to disturb me so early in the morning!!
(Glances at the clock. Time shows 10:30 AM PST).
Secretary: Sorry Sir. But it’s the Army Chief. He wants to speak to you urgently.
Nawaz: (Thinks: Oh no! Not that guy again. He’s just the one person I don’t want to meet first thing in the morning.)
(Speaks wearily on the phone)
All right! Send him in. And don’t send anyone else until I have fully recovered from my hangover!
Secretary (stifling a giggle): Yes sir!
(He disconnects and starts pouring two cups of green tea. The Pak Army chief comes rushing in, a map in hand)
Nawaz: Good Morning my friend. How wonderful it is to see you. Here, sit down and have some green tea.
Pak AC: Liar!! Damn the green tea! This news just came in.
(He throws the map towards Nawaz who picks it up with one hand and starts reading it while holding the green tea cup with the other)
Nawaz (starting at the paper intently): Hmmm …. Hey what’s this?? Can this be true ?? Yippee … now Kashmir is ours!! And India have shifted base to Tibet! New Delhi is now in Tibet !! Hahahaha !!
Pak AC (irritated): You’re reading the map upside down …. Ahh well never mind …. Let me tell you the gist of it. The Indian Army crossed the LOC and launched a massive surgical strike on our camps in Kashmir last night. Our guys didn’t stand a chance. Seven of our camps were destroyed. Lost quite a few good men.
Nawaz (shocked): WHAT? A surgical Strike? (Startled he once again drops some hot green tea on his lap) Ahyiiii..! (Recovers)Surgical strikes did you say? And that too in Kashmir? How dare they?? And what in Jannat’s name were you doing? Sipping green tea in your cosy cabin?
Pak AC (angry): Don’t give me that tone!! Don’t forget who runs this country!!
Nawaz (meekly): Of Course … Of Course ……. I was just … err…. A bit curious. I think they (the Indians) must have stopped by on their routine trek …. To have some green tea perhaps?? Did they leave any souvenirs?
Pak AC (visibly embarrassed): No, they left nothing behind. They came, they destroyed and they simply left.
Nawaz (Sweetly): How rude of them!! We always leave something for them when we visit don’t we??
Pak AC (coughs and splutters): What!!? Do we?? Yes we do … I mean no we don’t …. I mean … aah never mind!!
(Nawaz is about to reply when the Indo-Pak hotline phone on his desk buzzes. Nawaz picks it up to hear Narendra Modi’s voice on the other end.)
Modi: Nawaz Bhai, kem cho? Majaa maa?
Nawaz: Majaa maa Modi bhai! Ekdum Saras!!
(The Pak AC coughs a bit and raps his fingers on Sharif’s desk, to express dissatisfaction.)
Nawaz: Oh .. I .. er… yeah! So what’s the purpose of this call Modi?
Modi: Nawaz, I just called to tell you some news that you should hear. My boys crossed over into the LOC last night and conducted some surgical strikes against terror camps located near the border. I don’t have the exact number now but there were significant casualties. I will brief you more on that later.
Nawaz: So I heard! Well don’t worry you old fox. I am going to give you a ‘Befitting reply.’
Modi: Really? Well, I’ll be waiting.
Nawaz (looking worried): The press is going to have a field day on this. How do I explain? We can’t even blame India on this one.
Pak AC: What do you mean? They have already owned up to it right?
Nawaz: Yes, that’s the point! They have already owned up to it. Bugger! I was really looking forward to gathering incriminating evidence and playing the blame game. It would help kill time in parliament and the press and TV running. Damn Spoil-sports!!
Pak AC: Yes … Damn them!! And this had to happen just a few months before my tenure ends. (Sighs) I was really looking forward to retiring peacefully and spending the rest of my life sipping green tea in my villa in Liverpool.
(Nawaz coughs gently … a very suggestive cough)
Pak AC (face turning red): Did I say Liverpool … I actually meant Lahore …. And it’s a small two bedroom flat …nothing more …. Slip of the tongue.
(Sharif says nothing and smiles knowingly)
Pak AC (hurriedly): Let’s come back to the problem now shall we? Whom do we pin this on?
(Both remain silent for some moments, deep in thought. After some time the Pak AC snaps his finger)
Pak AC: I know what! Let’s blame it on the ISI.
Nawaz (frowning): The ISI?? What do they know?
Pak AC: That’s the point! They were supposed to know of this and were supposed to tip us off weren’t they?
Nawaz (face brightening): You’re right! Let’s pin it on them. Let me call that Jack-Ass ISI chief right away. I wonder where he’s jacking off.
He picks up his cell phone and dials a number. A couple of rings are heard and then a click sound indicating that someone has picked up the phone
Nawaz (Angrily): Did you know what happened last night?
Angry voice on the other end: You bet! You were out having a wild party and drank yourself out. Didn’t even come home. I heard you had to be carried out. Where did you spend the night you #$#$#$?
Nawaz (face turns crimson red): Oh hello Begum!! How are you dear?? Sorry I meant to call someone else.
Nawaz’s wife: Of course you were! Just wait till you come home tonight! And if you ever speak to me in that tone again, then no food for you! Don’t forget who runs this country!
Nawaz: Of course Begum! Love you dear!! Bye! (Thinks: @#$@#$#@$ smartphone keyboard)
(Ends the call and wipes the sweat dripping off his forehead. The Army chief watches him with an amused expression.)
Pak AC: Wrong number??
Nawaz says nothing and dials a number on his cell-phone again, this time watching carefully. Call connects to the ISI chief who is currently sitting in his office in ISI HQ, sipping green tea!
ISI Chief: Hello Nawaz, what a pleasant surprise! Good Morning!
Nawaz: Never mind the greetings. Do you know what happened last night?
ISI Chief: Yes I do. And I’m not surprised you don’t remember. That was quite a party!! What fun we had?? You literally had to be carried out.
Nawaz: Not that you fool! I mean what happened afterwards. In the midnight hour and after that. I hear the Indians conducted a surgical strike on our territory in Kashmir and got back unscathed too.
ISI Chief: WHAT??! Surgical Strikes?? (Nawaz hears a noise of crockery falling and breaking followed by a yelp of ‘Ahyiii… from the ISI Chief).
Nawaz: What happened?
ISI Chief: Nothing, I just spilt the green tea I was drinking. Surgical Strikes did you say? What utter rubbish. No one can even fart in Pakistan without us knowing it. And since we don’t know about it, it’s obvious that they never happened.
Nawaz: Are you sure? Hmm … where are your men by the way?
ISI Chief: They’re all busy keeping surveillance on the Chinese workers in Gwadar.
Nawaz: Gwadar … But the strikes happened in Kashmir!!
ISI chief: (irritated) What Strikes? I’m getting tired of hearing all this surgical strike stuff! Of course, we routinely cross over and so do they. Who said anything about a surgical strike anyways?
Nawaz: Well, the Army chief for one. He has a map too with strike locations.
ISI chief: Don’t believe that senile old fool. The only thing he’s good at is taking pictures of himself with the Army Uniform and blaming his shortcomings on the ISI.
Nawaz: But he claims to have proof! And if his findings are true … I will have you fired!!
ISI Chief: Really!! Well here’s some interesting info I just got today morning. Apparently someone sold a very upmarket properly in England and transferred the funds to a specific account in Panama belonging to …. Take a guess! It would be fun if this news went public!
Nawaz: What ?? Er ..um… of course …. I meant to say that there’s a lot of ‘firing’ going on cross border so I must have used the word inadvertently.
ISI Chief: That’s better. Don’t use that tone with me again. Don’t forget who runs this country.
Nawaz: Of course. But what about the surgical strikes?
ISI Chief (shouts in a paranoid tone): WHAT SURGICAL STRIKES? ARE YOU TONE DEAF YOU DUMFUK?? IF I SAY THERE WERE NO SURGICAL STRIKES THEN THERE WERE NO SURGICAL STRIKES! NOTHING OF THAT SORT EVER HAPPENED D’YA HEAR?? (Calming down)Now have some green tea and clear your head.
The call is cut. Nawaz turns and bangs his face with that of the Army chief who had ventured close to him to hear details of every conversation. A loud shattering sound is head as both men’s faces collide. They shriek and hold their noses. The Army Chief slumps back his seat)
Nawaz (gingerly rubbing his nose): I guess you must have heard everything.
Pak AC (rubbing his nose too): Yes, the nerve of that rascal! Calling me a senile old fool. Tell him next time you meet him that’s he’s a sneaky slimy wall crawling Lizard.
Nawaz (controlling his temper with great difficulty): Shall we focus on the matter at hand? I think what he says is good enough. Let’s say that it never happened.
Pak AC: For once, he’s said something sensible. Let’s agree on that. It will be the perfect counterbalancing statement to India’s claim of launching surgical strikes. They are busy drumming their act to the entire world. Let’s counterbalance their claim and say that the attacks never happened. The world will get confused. India will be furious! After all, if we did admit the attacks happened, then we would also have to admit that there were terrorist camps in Kashmir.
Nawaz: But what if India releases footage, proof?
Pak AC: Then we will say that they are morphed of course. And we send them some morphed pics of our own. Don’t forget, we are masters in morphing pics and videos.
Nawaz: All right! Call the media and brief them. But before that let me call Modi and rub it in.
(Lifts up the Indo-Pak hotline phone and presses a button. A brief ringing sound is heard and after a while a soft click)
Modi: Hello Nawaz! Thought about your ‘befitting reply’? I’m waiting to hear it.
Nawaz: I bet you are! Here’s my reply. The strikes never happened. The attacks must have been a figment of your imagination. You’re probably daydreaming because of lack of sleep. Go have some rest first!
Modi: Nawaz, I confess I am very disappointed by your ‘befitting reply’. I was expecting something very different. It’s the usual clichéd response.
Nawaz (sarcastically): Oh yeah! Like ..… were you expecting me to agree to them?
Modi (equally sarcastic): Would you?
Nawaz: I .. er.. of course not. If nothing happened, then nothing did.
Modi: Very well then! So that’s your story and you’re sticking to it?
Nawaz: Yes I am!
Modi: So you say the strikes never happened?
Nawaz: No they didn’t!
Modi: And you’re saying that if the strikes never happened then there would have been no terror camps?
Nawaz: There are no terror camps across the LOC. There are no terrorists in Pakistan.
(Hearing this, the army chief fumbles his tea cup and drops some hot green tea on this lap)
Pak AC: Ahyiii !!!
Modi: What was that?
Nawaz (gives a reproachful stare to the Pak AC): Nothing. Please continue.
Modi: If there are no terrorist camps, then you’re saying that my boys didn’t cross the LOC after midnight and take out several of them?
Nawaz (suddenly gathering the true intent of Modi’s words): I ..er.. No .. they didn’t !
Modi (chuckling softly): Very well Nawaz! You stick to your story then. Have a good day. And by the way don’t forget, have some green tea! It will help clear the muddle in your brain.
And saying so Modi disconnects. Nawaz and the Pak AC stare at each other for sometime not speaking. Then finally the Pak AC speaks up:
Pak AC: He’s a cunning old devil that one!
Nawaz: Yes, so he is. He’s double trapped us. If we had protested, then we would have also had to agree that there were terror camps. Now that we’ve denied it, we’re actually disowning that they entered our territory. Very well, he’s put the ball in our court. We will have to respond. For the moment, we’ll have to stick to our theory that it never happened.
Pak AC: So we shall.
Nawaz (reaches for the intercom and presses a button): Arrange for a press conference today. AND STOP GIGGLING! I know that you and your lazy staff have been listening to each and every word I said. I am done with my hangover.
Secretary: Yes sir!
(Sharif turns off the intercom. Both men stare at each other for sometime without saying a word. After a few minutes Nawaz quietly refills their green tea cups and both start drinking. Suddenly, Nawaz fumbles and spills some green tea on his lap .. again )
Pak AC: What happened?
Nawaz: It just occurred to me. If we deny the strikes, then what’s preventing Modi and his boys from launching another one?
(Now the Pak AC spills the green tea on his lap.)
Nawaz: What do we do in the event a second strike occurs?
Pak AC: I .. we.. we’ll have to think of a ‘befitting reply’.
Both men stare at each other with bleak expressions and continue sipping green tea from their cups.