Friday, September 23, 2011

Barrister in the buggy

Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry is a heavyset man. Born into a Jatt family of politicians in Mirpur, he went to England like all wealthy Mirpuris do, to earn his law degree. Apart from being a barrister (not a solicitor, mind you) he is friends with the drama queen Zardari, and is PPP’s current points man in Azad Kashmir. Nearer home he is pals with Zahoor Shah Wattali, the boss of real estate group Trison (brother of ex DIG Kashmir Ali Mohammad Wattali). Yasin Malik, when he was still a folk hero-cum-guerrilla commander was arrested for the first time from Zahoor’s home. Do the maths.

To all appearances barrister sahib came to attend a wedding in Srinagar this past week. Given his bulk, matched only by Devender from our side of Kashmir (Okay okay guys, Jammu and Kashmir), it appears that he quite enjoyed his Wazwan at the Wattali household. Not only that -- the ex-PM of AJK (yes they have PMs there) enlightened us about the exquisite beauty of the valley, greatly adding to our cognition. Chopper rides usually have that kind of effect on excursionists.

Barrister also loved the golf buggies in Srinagar’s Royal golf course. This is a very posh place which the rich and nouve-rich of Srinagar (apart from politicians and their sidekicks) frequent. Alas the bourgeoisie can only afford to take pictures near Pari-mahal with the green-as-Pakistani-flag teeing grounds as backdrop. Yasin ‘socialist’ Malik and Nasir Sogami accompanied the portly guest on different occasions in the golf cart. Reporters say that the barrister felt equally at home on -- fairway and rough – across the political divide.

And one evening, as someone played low flute near Zabarwan, a thin sliver of moon appeared on a faraway cloud. The prince charming strode in, blue eyes and all. Soon the blind date happened. The sometime PM of AJK and the incumbent CM of OJK (that is original, not occupied). Notwithstanding the usual tosh of official version: apricots and apple tarts were discussed, sceptics remain unimpressed. It now appears that barrister sahib with those rang-ba-rangeen short jackets of his, mayhap carried some coded message from Zardari which Radha helped Omar decipher.

Often times it gets complex for the muggles to follow the tale, since it is so ridden with mystique. A heavy-duty politician who was the principal of Hogwarts at a time when our wizards went there to learn alchemy, was in town, and flew around like they do in Quidditch. In between he rendezvoused with Death-eaters while the ministry of magic looked in utter disbelief. The jury is still out on the political symbolism of sultan’s tour de force.

No, he thundered, back home in Islamabad, he does not recognize Omar (despite the latter’s Twitter gushing, chopper freebies, mild moments at the Lion's tomb and Nasir, the tour guide’s boyish commentary in the buggy). If not anything, Geelani, old and frail, and cooped inside his home at all times, still gets the Pakistanis to behave.

© Sameer