A gaggle of reporters enjoying their dinner at the Tuscany Courtyard in Islamabad’s Kohsar Market, upon spotting Prime Minister’s special assistant for political affairs Naeemul Haque sipping tea, converged upon him. Each had a question.
Hairan Harkatee of K2 Times gets in the first word, “Obviously, a lot of people appreciate your government introducing wide-ranging austerity measures, like you are auctioning off more than thirty or so luxury and surplus vehicles belonging to the Prime Minister’s House.
“Now we learn that you have added four helicopters to this list, which were allotted to the cabinet division and are lying unused. And may I say, a surprise addition to the list is eight buffaloes.
“Indeed the nation wanted to know, so thank you for telling us that the buffaloes were kept for fulfilling former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s gastronomic requirements. I am among the few lucky ones to be offered lassi by our former head of state at that house. Of course, pampered buffaloes offer delectable dairy products!”
Teja Tajpuri of TaziTaziTV quickly got his word in, “Yesterday, I had the opportunity of interviewing the incarcerated prime minister in Adiala Jail, and he was quite depressed that his prized pedigree buffaloes were being auctioned off as they had been herded from some roadside cattle market. In fact, he spent quite a lot of time on reminiscing about the delectable lassi and khoya they had produced for him … as he put it, befitting the taste buds of a true gourmand.
“You know the jail authorities only allocate a limited time for such meetings but it was difficult to stop Mian Nawaz Sharif from giving the fine details of the special lassi the animals had led to. In fact, he had summoned his lawyers to seek the jail authorities to transfer these buffaloes to the Adiala grounds so the servants assigned to him could look after them, and help him relive that special lassi joy, which he dearly yearns for. Indeed his eyes welled up telling me how he had selected these eight beauties in consultation with buffalo experts at Lahore’s University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, and the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad
“At one point, Mian Nawaz, thinking aloud, mentioned that he may bring it to the attention of Dr. Shirin Mazari, your minister for human rights, that depriving him of his exclusive lassi was a violation of his human rights. But all this seems afar when you have publicly announced auctioning them off.”
Hairan Harkatee, not done, once again sought attention and asked, “I can understand the presence of eight buffaloes for a single family when the head of that family is a lassi gourmand, but what about the four spare helicopters?”
The special assistant for political affairs finally spoke, “First, let me come to what Teja Tajpuri just told us. I do sincerely feel for the incarcerated prime minister but you know our government is dedicated to the rule of law. We cannot amend the jail manual of our own; and of course, jails don’t have the facilities and the budget to house someone’s favorite cattle and then turn them into bovine products like lassi and khoya.
“Now let me come to your question, Hairan Harkatee. You ask about the four spare helicopters at the prime minister’s house. And of course, why four!
“Hairan, you know that it was not a state secret that Mian Nawaz is a gourmand … lassi and khoya are not his only weaknesses. He also craves nihari and biryani … and he only prefers nihari and biryani from his favorite shops in Lahore.
“The investigators have examined the logs and nihari was fetched from four of his top shops … I believe that it must be Waris Nihari House, Muhammadi Nihari, Haji Nihari, and Shahid Nihari House that some Lahorites so often mention.
“Once again reverting to your question, why four standby helicopters. Of course, sometimes a helicopter would take off and the kitchen would get the order for biryani, so another helicopter was dispatched to Lahore.”
Hairan Harkatee pleaded, “Please allow me to convey a message of our former prime minister to you and indeed to the two hundred million Pakistanis that he said loud and clear, ‘Let My Buffalos Go.’”