Save evacuations, it is unusual for 120 nationals of one country to arrive in another without valid visas. When the posse of people landing in Pakistan are Indians, the plot just gets thicker for the clueless and the conspiracy theorists.
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that he would visit Pakistan and arrived in Lahore three hours later. At such a short notice, the Indian delegation had to land in Lahore without visas from Kabul. While most of the delegation stayed put at the airport, a few, including national security adviser Ajit Doval, foreign secretary S Jaishankar and external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup travelled with Modi to the Sharif residence.
One reporter from a Lahore-based news channel was perhaps not kept in the loop.
Blissfully clueless, the reporter found himself at his wits’ end, trying to make sense of what was unfolding around him — Modi and his delegation in arriving in Lahore without visas!
Sprinkled liberally with “tauba tauba” (which could loosely be translated as god forbid), the C-42 channel reporter’s voice often quivered and his microphone even fell off his hand, as he got into the depth of his story.
“For the first time in history, close to 120 people have landed in Pakistan without visas,” he agitatedly said to the camera.
His sense of wonderment gave way to grave caution. The situation almost demanded a wilful suspension of disbelief, as the perplexed reporter urged Pakistan’s security agencies, immigration and even Parliament to “take note of the incident”. He then voiced his amazement at the “brazenness” with which Indians were treading the roads of Pakistan, without any watch.
All this was a perfect recipe for a viral video, and social media duly obliged.
Unusual situations demand unusual responses. Occasionally, they also throw up unusually hilarious reporting. As a certain Karachi-based reporter undoubtedly knows.