Sunday, January 16, 2011

More unleaked leaks

Anne Patterson to State Department, dispatch #420520
Anne Patterson to State Department, dispatch #420520, 7th Sept, 2009:
Some sections of Pakistan’s press call me the American Viceroy. I resent this title. It implies that we’re practically running the government here. That’s so not true. We only control the President and the Prime Minister and the federal cabinet and many in the central and provincial legislatures and most key government officials and certain corporate moguls. That’s all! It doesn’t mean we’re running the whole country! A case in point: the other day the Prime Minister came over and asked me if he could hire a new janitor in the Prime Minister’s secretariat. “Oh Yussou,” I said
. “Of course you can! You don’t need to ask me!” I could sense his happiness, it was evident in that goofy, buck-toothed grin that we all find endearing. “Just make sure,” I added, “that he has no al-Qaeda or other Jihadist links, that he loves McDonald’s and turkey and apple pie and thinks Elvis was the king and MJ after that and that he has no beard and hasn’t visited a mosque in years and knows the Star-Spangled Banner by heart.” I smiled reassuringly. “As long as these basic criteria are met, you can totally hire anyone you like. After all,” I emphasized, “we completely respect Pakistan’s sovereignty in such matters.” He was joyous and thankful at that. I wish the local press would cover such positives too.
Anne Patterson to State Department, dispatch #420520, 24th Sept, 2009:
A prominent politician called on me today. He keeps changing parties and policies and in recent years has alternated between government and opposition frequently. That’s the thing about Pakistani pols; they change loyalties like underwear. Their duplicity even exceeds that of their American counterparts. Anyway, he told me that he didn’t mean all the bad things he’s said about the US in recent rallies. You know, stuff like 9/11 being an inside job, or the Americans spreading infertility among Pakistani men, or that we helped murder Zulfi Bhutto and Zulu Haq, or that we were sucking the blood out of Pakistani people. The usual things. He said he didn’t mean any of it, he was just, you know, politicking. He’d be very grateful, he told me in a fawning whisper, if we could give his sons green cards and scholarships in Ivy League varsities and, eventually, important corporate positions. Also, he requested if we could wield our influence and assign him a federal ministry here in Pakistan. He’s from an opposing party but of course what does that matter.
I just smiled. “The cabinet is already chockfull of ministers,” I reminded him, “all the ministries are already taken.”
He smiled back and patted my knee. “We can always make new ministries,” he enthused. “A Ministry of Pak-American Affairs, for instance, or a Ministry of Railway Tracks. Or one of Wildlife and Animal Affairs.”
“But you guys already have a Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, don’t you?” I joked teasingly. He didn’t get it at all; instead he assured me he’d do anything, anything if we helped him out. He was so desperate he promised he could even sell his mother for it, if need be.
And that’s why I don’t like local politicos. They’re unreliable and dishonest. Everyone knows this guy’s mom died years ago! How dare he try to hoodwink an American official! I turned down all his requests and had him thrown out. I say we put him on our list of wanted terrorists! The nerve of some people!
Sometimes I wonder why I ever came to this country.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, January 16th,  2011.

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