KASHMIR – THE UNMAKING OF A DREAM
By Neel Anil Panicker
“You ask me to condemn the attacks? You ask me to call these people terrorists? I ask you what proof do you have that they are the attackers? And further, I question, how could you be so sure that these attackers, as is your clam, are in fact the attackers and not instead the attacked?”
A gasp of shock escaped the lips of the assembled gathering. The pall of silence that followed thereafter lasted long__long enough for even the liveried attendants who were moving around dishing the choicest of delicacies to stop and wonder at the sudden eerie stillness that had taken over the atmosphere.
Having lost his bearings, albeit momentarily, the reporter from Global Now gathered herself, and thrust the mike deeper into the man’s face.
“But Sir, how can you so openly support an act of terror”?
The cameramen moved in for the kill, panning their lenses closer.
The angular pockmarked face of arguably the second most powerful in Pakistan today was in its crosshairs.
Blood shot eyes pierced through from under a deeply furrowed forehead and a scalp unadorned by human hairs; eyes that were a dark mahogany, some sort of a strange hybrid of deep mushroom red meets stale blood orientation; eyes that forever seemed downed and drowned in an abyss of whisky, presumably, but then quite plausibly, Premium Chivas Regal, the very high end at that.
“You call it acts of terror. We call them acts of self defence. One nation’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter”, the booming alcohol scarred voice of the Defence Minister of Pakistan reverberated all around the cavernous hall.
“And these people, these who you call terrorists, don’t have even have a nation that they can call their own”, he added, his voice booming, and for sure, being caught by global air waves.
Before the stunned young reporter could counter that volley, the security apparatus around the august figure stepped in.
The impromptu presser held on the sidelines of the SAARC SUMMIT was over.
Seconds later, the bespectacled Pathani suit wearing dignitary scampered out, amply and ably ringed in by his fearsome security apparatus, which besides the ubiquitous but enviable entourage included among others several starred military generals, and over six foot tall thick set and mustachioed men__men in black coats who preferred to hide behind the darkest of dark Ray Ban glasses even though it was well over five hours after the sun had bid goodbye.
Alas! the sun never ever seemed to come down on this evil men in black who were past masters at committing black deeds.
The assemblage of journalists including the head honchos of world renowned television and print media outlets plus the usual assortment of hangers on simple gaped, a few of them clearly in shock, some in sheer awe, others plain incredulous while a few with expressions that only just about concealed their angst at this crude display of political chicanery and bestial cruelty that had gained global currency in the past few years.
They watched in horror as the three tiered self-serving ring of hot shot politicos, members of the higher echelons of army and bureaucracy slipped through the entrance to the tunnel, the camera capturing not just their fading silhouettes but also their rambunctious full throated laughter as they disappeared into the dungeon; the exclusive entry by invitation secretive chamber from where they played out their political shenanigans, diabolically plotting plans, charting strategies and then putting their nefarious designs into devilish, deathly actions.