Pak Space Cadets

Published: 28th September 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2014 11:03 PM   |  A+A-

A secret cellar deep inside Pakistan’s ISI’s headquarters in Islamabad. Around a table littered with maps of Kashmir and Hubble images of the solar system, sit a group of generals swilling bootleg whisky. Hafiz Saeed is playing with a grenade as Dawood Ibrahim looks on nervously. Nawaz Sharif is sitting on a chair facing the wall, as punishment for not sending Pakistani spacecraft to Mars. Occasionally, he is allowed to turn around and lick the boots of Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar, the next ISI chief.

HAFIZ.jpgGeneral Akhtar: “The world is praising India’s  Mars mission while all Pakistan can send is poor suckers to Syria.”

Nawaz Sharif: (whimpering) “Pakistan doesn’t have a space programme. We don’t have any money left after funding the Taliban.”

GA: “What about all the money the Americans have been giving Pakistan?”

NS: “Remember, we stole it all? Maybe we can ask Richard Branson to lend us a spaceship, but the Taliban won’t be happy. They will all want to clamber aboard, expecting Virgin delights in heaven.”

GA: “So how do we send a spaceship to Mars? Our international prestige is at stake.”

NS: “Maybe I can strike a deal with Zardari to fund 10 per cent of the Pak space mission. That way we can build one-tenth of a spacecraft that can reach one-tenth of the distance to Mars.”

Hafiz Saeed: (interrupting) “I’ll think of a way to infiltrate my fighters into Mars. They will conduct suicide missions on Indian spacecraft, inshallah.”

Dawood Ibrahim: “I can organise bomb blasts on Mars. I just need to smuggle some RDX across space. But I need an assurance.”

GA: “About what?”

DI: “Are there waterfalls on Mars?”

GA: “What do you want waterfalls for?”

DI: “For Mandakini to bathe.”

(The ISI chief takes his cap off and throws it in disgust at Nawaz, because he dare not throw it at Dawood for fear of being denied pirated CDs of Alia Bhatt films.)

NS: “Let’s ask Obama whether he can send drones to Mars. That way, we can also project the fact that we are fighting terrorists there.”

(Akhtar’s cellphone rings. He picks it up, listens, nods gravely and switches it off.)

GA: “That was Bilawal. He says he is going to annex Mars and wants a space mission to take PPP supporters up.”

ISI general: “Can’t we blow him up, boss, like we blew up his mom?”

GA: “Shut up, you moron. Bilawal is our man.”

ISI general: “But every leader in Pakistan is our man. What’s Bilawal’s problem?”

GA: “He wants to prove he is doing a better job than Nawaz as an ISI agent.”

NS: “Rahul Gandhi is asking for reservation for Martians. Why don’t we raise it with the UN?”

HS: “Let’s kidnap a Martian, behead him and release the video on the Internet, saying it’s all India’s fault.”

GA: “Where will we find Martians, O Khalifa of Mass Biryani?”

HS: “In Srinagar, where else? Omar Abdullah is an alien in Kashmir.”

The door bangs open and little red aliens burst in waving laser guns. The ISI men leap up in fright screaming that the Martians have landed.

Alien: “We were looking for life on Earth and we landed here! But we’re going back.”

Pakistanis: “Why? Can’t you give us a ride on your spaceship and we can call it a bilateral space mission? That’ll be quite a... ahem... coup.”

Alien: “What do we get in return?”

GA: “To uphold national pride, Pakistanis will pay with their lives. It’s pretty cheap here.”

Alien: “There is no life in Pakistan, only lowlife. Beam me up, NaMo.”

They disappear in a flash of green smoke and fire as the occupants of the room fall back in a faint.

More from Ravi Shankar.


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