Donkeys Are Gold

The former President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, co-chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party, has assumed an additional title, the Makhdom of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, the burial place of former Prime Minister of Pakistan ZA Bhutto, his daughter, the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and his sons Mir Murtaza and Shahnawaz, in Larkana District, Sindh, Pakistan.

The former head of state having assumed the guardianship of the mausoleum vide a will that he discovered where ZA Bhutto had granted him such powers. Dates don’t matter in such circumstances. After all, Asif Zardari is a master of all wills, be it his late wife or his late father-in-law.

He has summoned a meeting, which includes his sister Faryal Talpur, the Sind Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, former prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, the provincial agriculture minister Sohail Anwar Siyal, livestock & fisheries and environment minister Muhammad Ali Malkani, and minister of Auqaf Syed Ghulam Shah Jeelani.

Gilani has been brought in a specialist, being a born Makhdom, and married to the granddaughter of Pir Pagara Shah Mardan Shah II.

Zardari has just gotten off the phone telling Malik Riaz, the real estate tycoon, that while he appreciates the gift of the $50 million Bilawal House in Lahore, but his children need Bilawal Houses in every city.

Zardari turns to his audience, and informs them that being the Makhdom of the Bhuttos Mausoleum, he has special obligations. One necessity of the graves is that they should be covered with special covers. Toward this end, he has consulted with Gilani who is a specialist, being a born Makhdom who is also married to the granddaughter of Pir Pagara Shah Mardan Shah II.

The other necessity of graves is that they should be provided collection boxes. Indeed, he reminds, that no one could expect to be blessed by the dwellers of the graves without depositing an offering.

“Our Murad Ali Shah is witness to the effect that overcomes him when he visit the graves of our Blessed Martyrs – Shaheed Zulfikar Ali and Shaheed Muhtarima Benazir Bhutto.

“Ghulam Shah Jeelani, you are minister of auqaf, and it is your duty toward our Great Martyrs, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and Shaheed Muhtarima Benazir Bhutto, is to guide our Bhuttos Mausoleum administrators to manage the collection boxes. In fact, I am ordering customized collection boxes that can also accept offerings done through credit cards.

“Murad Ali Shah, you being our minister should send a budgetary request for the procurement and installation of these boxes.

“I don’t want anything to stand in the way of the devotees and the collection boxes. We are going to provide a box every five feet.

“Faryal Talpur, being the guardian of my children, will be presented the collection daily so it can be transferred to my account in Switzerland.

“Gilani Sahib, you have immense experience in the ceremonial grave coverings. It is the 21st century, and these covers should provide value to the Makhdom.

“Greatness lies in accepting one’s shortcomings. Despite being a BA or BSc or MA or MSc – I forget exactly what — from the London School of Education, I did not know everything about donkeys. I have recently learnt that donkey skin is much prized in China. I have learnt that the Chinese use it for the production of gelatin as well as in the preparation of a medicine “Ejiao,” which they believe is effective in treatment of certain blood diseases.

“This is good news for us in Pakistan. Murad Sayin will agree that donkey carts are such a menace in traffic.

“But herein lies a solution. I understand that each donkey hide is estimated to be worth Rs. 25,000 in the international market, that is $250 each.

“I am sure that Maulana Fazlur Rahman can be of immense help in defining what materials can be used for the grave covers. He is open to any offer.

“I am going ask him to advise the devotees that grave covers made of animal skins, especially donkey skin are preferred by the residents of the Bhutto graves.

“If we can generate only 100 skins daily, this should mean $25,000 every day. Indeed, this is a paltry sum but as the old saying goes that every penny counts. As a Farsi saying goes qatra qatra daria shavad (drop by drop it became a river).

“Of course with a little inspiration from Ghulam Shah Jeelani’s Auqaf department, we can phenomenally increase the skin intake.

Gilani secures permission to speak, “Sayin Asif Zardari, you can increase the consumption of donkey skins by adding to the size of the graves of our Great Martyrs – Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the Shaheed Muhtarima by enhancing them with extra marble decorations. This new dimension will require the skins of four to six donkeys for each cover. In dollar value, this is $1000 to $1500 per cover.

“Makhdom Gilani Sayin, you are a genius! And don’t forget that the Chinese will be so pleased,” responded Zardari.

“Sohail Anwar Siyal and Muhammad Ali Malkani, you need to set your departmental machineries in high gear to ensure that our donkey rearing keeps rising.

“Initially, I would like to recruit our party stalwarts, our jiyalas, to set the examples for the devotees at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh. At the outset, we will need to invest in a few donkey hides, and recycle them for a few days to start the trend.

“I am positive that in a day or two, I will find the wills of our Great Martyrs – Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the Shaheed Muhtarima, that only donkey hide covers should be placed on their graves.

“My professors at London School of Education have taught me that where there is a way, there is a will.”

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