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Taking no prisoners

The US and India should learn lessons in hospitality from Ashfaq Kayani, whose idea of jail is quite unique.

india Updated: Nov 24, 2011 21:35 IST
Hindustan Times

We can only marvel at the endearing naivete of the Americans. They actually whipped around, according to a US-based website, and asked Pakistan's army chief Ashfaq Kayani to confiscate a mobile phone from a jailbird. Now this was no ordinary felon but Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhavi, the head of that well-known democratic outfit the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Mumbai attack accused.

But the Kayani we all know and love would have none of it. My boy, he told the Americans, must have his phone with him at all times so he can direct the friendly operations that his lads carry out from time to time. When the still hopeful Americans pointed out that such activities as engaged in by his wild-eyed followers included the customary weekly jihadi bomb blast and other such people-friendly schemes both within Pakistan and in neighbouring countries, Kayani dug his military heels in and told them off. That is the spirit, always be loyal to one's flock. But what the poor old Americans did not know is that Kayani's idea of jail is somewhat different from theirs. No ball and chain and all that for his faithful. No, every now and again, those under house arrest or even in jail can be spotted in Peshawar or Lahore city centres munching on galauti kababs and chewing the gelatine sticks on how to eliminate India. Now this is a progressive way of reforming people and ensuring that they emerge into society tame as the lambs that gambol in the fields of Abbottabad, where another peacenik lived out his days praying for world peace.

We should learn from this, both the Indians and Americans. Just because a wayward soul like Lakhavi has killed a few hundred people or had stray thoughts about waging war against the infidels, his human rights in the form of his mobile phone and his access to more ways of destruction cannot be taken away overnight. For goodness sake, Kayani is presiding over democracy. And if the Americans start whining about all those Stinger missiles and AK-47s that Lakhavi is allowed to keep just to make sure that his skills don't get rusty, they really are going to get an earful from Kayani. In fact, he will positively explode.

First Published: Nov 24, 2011 21:33 IST