By Nadeem F. Paracha
July 3rd, 2015
Want to know why (or rather) how Pakistan actually managed to say ‘no’ to the request of the Saudi monarchy to join its war effort in Yemen?
Here’s the transcript of the secret discussion that Punjab CM, Mian Shahbaz Sharif and Advisor to the PM, Sartaj Aziz, had with the Saudi king after the Pakistan Parliament voted against sending Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia.
The transcript was leaked by Julian Assange to M. Luqman and then passed on to Dr. Shahid who passed it on to us thinking it was his laundry list.
Shahbaz Sharif: Mighty King, you misinterpreted the parliament's resolution.
Saudi King: So, does this mean you are not neutral and thus with us?
Shahbaz: Of course, we are not neutral. I mean, not neutral neutral ...
King: You are being vague again. Are you or are you not? Yes or no?
Shahbaz: Is that from Shakespeare? Y'know, to be or not to be ... hehe.
King: Who is Shakespeare?
Shahbaz: Oh, just some old British expat in the UAE.
King: Do not dodge my question, Masakeen! Is the Pakistan government neutral or not?
Shahbaz: Of course, brave king of ummah, soldier of our creed, provider of our oil and giver of political asylums to lowly faithful folk like me and Bhai Jaan.
King: Of course what? Of course you are or are not neutral?
Shahbaz: But of course.
King: Yes, but of course what?
Shahbaz: Good question. A very wise question, great King, very wise. Of course what? I'll let Mr. Sartaj Aziz answer this. Mr Aziz, please elaborate on of course what?
Sartaj Aziz: Well, as you might have heard our PM yesterday, we are not neutral, but kind of neutral in the sense of neutrality that does not neutralise our commitment to you but it does make us neutral in the sense that it neutralises our commitment to the wishes of our people who are neutral but not neutral neutral. Know what I mean?
Shahbaz: What he means to say, ya King, is that... What did you mean to say Sartaj Sahib?
Sartaj: Same thing that you meant to say. What was it that you meant to say?
King: Enough! Are you neutral or not? Yes or no? One answer. Now! Or I'll feed you to one of my giant camels.
Shahbaz: You have giant camels? How wonderful. Fascinating. Must introduce them in Lahore. Sartaj Sahib, please make a note of it. Do they run on petrol?
King: No! They eat treacherous friends like you!
Shahbaz: Oh ... I ... I ... I mean, what a trait to have. Majestic. Just majestic.
King: So you have come here to tell us that you are still neutral. It's now obvious. You will not join our just fight against the oppressor usurper Hothis in Yemen. You are no friends of ours. Please put down that bunch of grapes, and leave.
Shahbaz: But we just said we weren't neutral anymore, mighty King, great provider of help to the Masakeen brothers … and … mmmm … such delicious grapes.
King: Then say it clearly. Neutral or not? Yes or no? One word!
Shahbaz: We ... We ... We said no ...
Sartaj: Yes ... I mean, yes, we said no.
King: You are no more neutral then?
Shahbaz: Yes, not neutral then.
King: Good. Finally. That's settled...
Shahbaz: ... I mean neutral, but not neutral neutral ...
King: GIMME THOSE GRAPES!
Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com