A Case of Exploding Mangoes

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  • Topic: Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
  • Pages : 242 (106613 words )
  • Download(s) : 165
  • Published : September 14, 2012
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Mohammed Hanif

A Case of Exploding Mangoes
2008 A first novel of the first order--provocative, exuberant, wickedly clever--that reimagines the conspiracies and coincidences leading to the mysterious 1988 plane crash that killed Pakistan's dictator General Zia ul-Haq. At the center is Ali Shigri: Pakistan Air Force pilot and Silent Drill Commander of Fury Squadron. His father, one of Zia's colonels, committed suicide under suspicious circumstances. Ali is determined to understand what or who pushed his father to such desperation--and to avenge his death. What he quickly discovers is a snarl of events: Americans in Pakistan, Soviets in Afghanistan, dollars in every hand. But Ali remains patient, determined, a touch world-weary ('You want freedom and they give you chicken korma'), and unsurprised at finding Zia at every turn. He mounts an elaborate plot for revenge with an ever-changing crew (willing and not) that includes his silk-underwear-and-cologne-wearing roommate; a hash-smoking American lieutenant with questionable motives; the chief of Pakistan's secret police, who mistakenly believes he's in cahoots with the CIA; a blind woman imprisoned for fornication; Uncle Starchy, the squadron's laundryman; and, not least of all, a mango-besotted crow.

laundryman; and, not least of all, a mango-besotted crow. General Zia--devout Muslim and leering admirer of nonMuslim cleavage--begins every day by asking his chief of security: 'Who's trying to kill me?' and the answer lies in a conspiracy trying its damnedest to happen...Intrigue and subterfuge combine with misstep and luck in this darkly comic book about love, betrayal, tyranny, family--and a world that unexpectedly resembles our own.

UPLOADED BY AZHAR SALEEM KHAN E-MAIL:azharsaleemkhan@yahoo.com www.facebook.com/azharsaleemkhan

PROLOGUE
The clip You might have seen meiton TV after the crash. slightly is short and everything in is sun-bleached and faded. It was pulled after the first two bulletins because it seemed to be having an adverse impact on the morale of the country's armed forces. You can't see it in the clip but we are walking towards Pak One, which is parked behind the cameraman's back, in the middle of the runway. The aeroplane is still connected to an auxiliary fuel pump, and surrounded by a group of alert commandos in camouflaged uniforms. With its dull grey fuselage barely off the ground, the plane looks like a beached whale contemplating how to drag itself back to the sea, its snout drooping with the enormity of the task ahead. The runway is in the middle of Bahawalpur Desert, six hundred miles away from the Arabian Sea. There is nothing between the sun's white fury and the endless expanse of shimmering sand except a dozen men in khaki uniforms walking towards the plane. For a brief moment you can see General Zia's face in the clip, the last recorded memory of a much photographed man. The middle parting in his hair glints under the sun, his unnaturally white teeth flash, his moustache does its customary little dance for the camera, but as the camera pulls out you can tell that he is not smiling. If you watch closely you can probably tell that he is in some discomfort. He is walking the walk of a constipated man. The man walking on his right is the US Ambassador to

The man walking on his right is the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Arnold Raphel, whose shiny bald head and carefully groomed moustache give him the air of a respectable homosexual businessman from small-town America. He can be seen flicking an invisible speck of sand from the lapel of his navy-blue blazer. His smart casual look hides a superior diplomatic mind; he is a composer of sharp, incisive memos and has the ability to remain polite in the most hostile exchanges. On General Zia's left, his former spymaster and the head of Inter Services Intelligence General Akhtar seems weighed down by half a dozen medals on his chest and drags his feet as if he is the only man in the group who...
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