Review by Iqbal Geoffrey
Dear Kamal Azfar
Reading your book: THE WATERS OF LAHORE has imparted great pleasure and furnished enlightening information; therefore, this note is a symbol and a gift from my genuine appreciation while hoping that you might arrange its Urdu version published as a subsidized edition. You may consider adding a separate chapter succinctly describing bluntly in your honest-to-goodness, straightforward style, e.g., what does the government need to do as well as the law-abiding denizens in Pakistan (systemically dehumanized by alien or fiendlike Rule of Low and Law off Rulers, though with no signs of Rule of Law in sight) over last five thousand years (and their Sing Along With Mitch cutlery, chumcha cha cha!) in Pakistan. Now that the Land of the Pure (and helluva halva) has become not only a failed state, but also plundered, oppressed, almost bankrupted, and a Terrorist® state. Gone with the Raiwind are the good old days and inbetweenties glimpsing any semblance/dynamics of wisdom or micro-iota regarding Values or Vision. The Hyperbole and intimate Manage a Trois are very-very ‘In’.
Rather remarkably – in between the lines — your book reads like art criticism. Moreover, no civilization has ever flourished progressively without first excelling in arts. Within the unfortunate State of Pakistan the ubiquitous coterie of nouveau riche/ deep-pocket riffraff and semi-illiterate politicians (rudderless + ruthlessly on-the-take) compounded by rabid bureaucrats (low-ranking Machiavellis) are instead coyly dismantling what is left of Pakistan. One in PTI/ one in ML(N)/ one Independent Syndrome. Jinnah must be turning in his grave. Right now we encounter déjà vu of 1999 when forex reserves were miserably down to $400 millions, that too S.O.S-borrowed at exorbitantly high commercial rates. Please propose what needs to be done. I will, in deeds, state of art illustrate it !!!
As your former GCL classmate and causa honoris fan, I ought to mention two item thoughts. ZAB (a poet-of-politics deserving criticism in the Surah 26 : 226 Sense) actually was not all that ‘not-corrupt’. When Bhutto visited my Studio (or Clinic for the Sake of AesthE T H I C S) in Central Park West (at the Mayflower) or later in Beekman Place, NYC 21 , I humbly pontificated that bigotry must not be encouraged by anyone whatsoever, i.e., no one may designate/label or even subliminally belittle any other person’s faith, nor tempt invidious exodus or determine their faith or stigmatize any school of thought. By Officially (draconically) branding the Ahmadis as ‘non-Muslims®’. He acted disgracefully and unleashed a palpable Pandora box mix for our vintage/ perverse (perhaps even worse) halala-smitten/happy Mullah, Moolah and Mega- Mediocrity in order to exploit and plunder. Now chickens are coming home for roasting up Shias. God mentions in the Holy Koran that on the day of Judgment He will judge everyone in accordance with his faith. So Culprits cannot escape exemplary punishment.
Moreover, Bhutto used to boast before his Sitting Ducks that he manifested two personas (euphoria of split personality, I presume); one private (seductive actresses + Invigorated Rooh-e Afzaa + surreptitious verbal ‘marriage’ with Ravishing Husna Sheikh — where is the Bengal Beauty?? = la dolce vita a la mode at State-with-dwindling-resources expense account), and The Other his (illusionary) public (= commercial) personage (Roti, Kappra, Aur Makkan + phony “Liend Reforms” phantom/hype).
During 1969 (when he invited Dr. Zafar Aziz Khan and me), I asked him point-blank why await becoming the PM to implement his promised and worthy ‘Land’-Reforms, why not initiate and functionalize/fructify that very day since charity and all good deeds (like justice) begin with home, however, I would simultaneously join him, donate all my existing resources, I am a bit short of being a Kuwaiti Currency Billionaire, I must admit, ‘how short’ is my Tashkent $ecret) : he responded that he had a family to support and I retorted on the spot to his sudden surprise: ‘But; everyone is suffering from that dis-ease’. It turned him pinkier! He become fidgety. Dr. ZAK graciously walked out on him along with me from the debilitated Falettis which was ruining itself after The Oberoi Family had to leave.
“The Tashkent Secret” (another Bhutto Bluff!) simply was that we triumphantly lost that war too. Mein ne dekha: also as a citizen of the global village, I felt very sorry for the Motherland, Raftarr Tez Haey – - mugger Suffer ahissta-ahissta. The cutting-edge bottom-line is that actually, soon after that Bhutto (albeit innocent Yatra), Janab A.K. Brohi, To err is human, confided to me that Bhutto would not win a single seat even from native Sindh..
Since the Dacca (double entendre , it also means dacoiting in my Penglish) Marrowing of l971, over 300 billion dollars have been money-laundered illicitly out to offshore havens as sacrosanct nest-eggs. Although I strongly oppose Death Penalty in present day Just Ice Pakistan, as an exception to the rule I humbly favour brutal public hangings of economic Fitna-Fasaad caterers per the Commandment of God. Caliph Hazrat Omer, RA condemned hypocrisy as the worst of sins and calibrated that one who appeases in a wrong is far worse than the wrong-monger.
Our present day role model Prime Munster, Haji Sir Nawaz SharrrrReef’s (HonGCMG 1997 violating Art. 254) two sons have already proudly become British citizens with Right of Abode which re-minds me the brilliant obiter dicta that MohtrimA Meena Kumari (born in Mitha Tiwana, District KhushAAB = Good Waters off of the Chenab River ) lisped in the playback surroundsound of Lata Mangheshkar: Innhi loggounn ne lay liyya dupatta mera…
Also there exists a lucid, tell-tale Urdu lyric (ghazzal), ahead of its time (as is all art) narrating requiem for ZAB during his own lifetime, by the greatest poet of the XX century (albeit from Montgomery), Munir Niazi, RA. I will appreciate your corrective views about the aforesaid aspects of some burning issues which are of burgeoning incendiary concern to the common, law-abiding citizenry of Pakistan who find themselves Iraq and a hard placebo.