My Oh Mai - Masood Hasan - Sunday, May 01, 2011

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When the chief justice reportedly said that the rape of Mukhtaran Mai was ‘the most heinous crime of the 21st century,’ he was in fact grotesquely misreported. What he apparently said was it was ‘the most hilarious circus of the 21st century,’ alluding to the theory doing the rounds that Mai had staged the whole thing as a spoof thereby hoodwinking the people of Pakistan and later on, the rest of the world. There is now good reason to believe that the Meerwala drama was a hoax and put to considerable distress over a dozen solid citizens of the soil who were wrongly accused.

The fact that they have now been set free – there are stirring pictures of the gents walking out of the jail premises which have moved the entire government to tears at the misery they have silently and with great dignity endured these many years. How can this nation repay them? Well, many are the ways but that we shall come to later.

Since 2002, Mai a small time village damsel with hopes of making it big time in international media contrived an intricate and diabolical plot to shoot her into global limelight, perhaps even land her a Nobel Prize. Sitting in a small village without power like all the cities and towns of Pakistan now, she hatched a plot, hatching being easy for her since her hens were forever doing the same thing with eggs.

She persuaded her kid brother to saunter to the peaceful and gentle tribes-folk of Village Mastoi, a sleepy little hamlet where the only sound you heard on a summer day was the occasional belch or breaking of wind as the farmers rested beneath shady trees fresh off the field they had tilled and post-lunch of deep fried loaves, mouth-watering curries and cold swirling glasses of milk brought to them by rosy-cheeked, dimpled and cute damsels who sang and frolicked in their satins and silks as the men folk dipped into the goodies. The kid brother soon spotted his victim, a doe-eyed beauty of the Mastoi tribe and succeeded in luring her to a secluded corner where he tried and finally succeeded in his lusty plans. ‘Woe betide,’ the girl wailed as she threw herself into the arms of the Mastoi Elder, a man of many parts, but chiefly one that was amongst the unmentionables.

‘Woe betide,’ he said which didn’t move the story much forward but retained the drama of the moment. The kid, instead of high-tailing it, stood his ground and did a little jig with his gander up so to speak. Three honorable Mastoi men being unable to take this insult, having been injured earlier, so to speak, chased after him.

As per devious plan, the Kid – we can call him Billy the Kid, lured them into a sugarcane field and ravished all three in one go. Many goes later, he was still ravishing them when they managed to escape and weeping and crying fell upon the feet of Mastoi Elder. Between sobs they shared their shame at which point the peaceful men folk went into a huddle. The huddle has not been seen since. When they emerged, they requested that Mai who hailed from the all-powerful Jatla Clan, feared far and wide in sleepy Muzaffargarh, be asked to meet them so that a peace deal could be worked out. This fit Mai’s plot as tightly and snugly as Lady Middleton’s glove on the day of her royal wedding.

Wielding a cross bow and a few rifles around her waist, she strode into the Mastoi humble abode. Talks began in earnest and a marriage was arranged – young strapper with the girl he had wronged and Mai with a man from the Mastoi Clan, as per ancient rituals. At this point, Mai lost her cool and forced the entire village gathering to strip and parade before her. Seventy people took part in this shame having no choice in the matter. The policemen who arrived were also forced to strip and do a small gig to please Mai. Later, women folk of the Mastoi came out and amidst sobbing covered their men folk as best as they could. Long after they retired, they could still hear Mai thundering on the streets of their little village. It was a night the Mastoi wished would end soon.

Things rapidly progressed from there. Mai went global through some friendly Zionist agents she had contacted plus help from some hidden Indian hands which you could not see because they were hidden. She turned the whole story around 365 degrees and made herself the victim. When the police asked her how she was sure she was indeed raped by four men since it was dark and there was no power (there never is), she said she had infrared glasses and could see in the dark. This nonplussed the police who didn’t know what infrared meant.

The world, always happy to run down Pakistan at the drop of a hat and sometimes even without the drop of a hat, made Mai the victim of a bestiality unheard of since the first caveman dragged a woman into the cave and clubbed her senseless. Suddenly, she was on the cover of every magazine from here to Alaska and back.

Quite rightly, President Musharraf, a wonderful leader the likes of whom we will never see, a visionary ahead of his time, who luckily ruled Pakistan for almost a decade and was in power at the time, decided that sending Mai out would undo all the good work he had done. ‘She will bring disgrace to the nation,’ he said tears rolling down his cheeks. Mai was persuaded not to go to the vile west but she turned the advice down, blaming sterling women like Ms Nilofer Bakhtiar who was the Minister for Gliding & Para Jumping in those days, and charging her with stealing her passport. I ask you! By this time the Terrorism Court had sentenced perfectly innocent men to a lifetime of solitary confinement and it was only a High Court panel that upturned the gruesome verdict and a 2-1 vote set them free.

This was a big spanner in Mai’s diabolical plot so she and her supporters, mostly misguided and bored upper class civil society ladies who had time to kill between hair dresser appointments and coffee parties, went to town. Once there, they forgot why they were there in the first place, but that is another matter.

The High Court judgement was challenged and the case now went up to the Supreme Court. It upheld the High Court appeal and the innocent babes languishing their lives away were set free sans one character who said he liked it so much in jail, he wasn’t leaving. The men of Mastoi, honestly. Just anything for a lark. The dgement has been very well-received and the whole nation is rejoicing. After the semi-final victory, sorry loss, sorry victory, this is the best thing that’s happened here and all have forgotten that there is so much loadshedding, they are calling it just shedding. Mai’s diabolical plot has been foiled and the women of Pakistan are dancing in the streets with joy.

The writer is a Lahore-based columnist. Email:

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