Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Halwa Chronicles

There's something utterly surreal about a country where a whole class of people stereotypically derided as "halwa lovers" (idiomatically meaning 'partial to the good life') is spectacularly laid low by, of all things, halwa.

I refer of course to the now infamous episode two days ago where a bunch of maulvis - including the 'Real Drone Attacker' Mufti Muneebur Rehman (he of the Ruet) and the Jamaat's 'Face-of-the-Youth' Secretary General, 57-year-old Liaquat Baloch - were rushed to the hospital with severe food poisoning after consuming the aforsesaid dish at the Islamabad residence of the deputy head of the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam.

The Drone Attacker laid low by halwa (Source: Dawn / Online)

Reports of the details are conflicting about what kind of halwa was the culprit (habshi or sohan) and what all these clerics were up to (some say they were meeting for a Mashaikh Conference called by the government to declare suicide bombings unIslamic, other more credible reports - especially since the government would not be calling a conference in the flat of the JUI senator - claim the conference was only incidental to the whole thing). But everyone seems to agree that the sweet was delivered to the residence by some unknown man the night before the meeting and that the host Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri only survived the poisoning because, having diabetes, he refrained from trying the sweets. Obviously taking food items from total strangers and serving them to your guests without verification - despite there being "a strange, foul smell" emanating from them (in the words of DIG Bani Amin in the Dawn report) - is not, however, a problem for Mr. Haideri.

But this report in today's The News, wherein Mr. Baloch claims it to be a conspiracy to eliminate the "religious leadership" of the country and vows that "such incidents cannot weaken our principled stand of exposing conspiracies against Islam and Pakistan", also sheds some light on the mindset of the same leaders.

"“There is no doubt that it was an attempt on the lives of Ulema who have been raising their voice against the anti-Pakistan international conspiracies,” he maintained. He said the sweet dish was of black colour and carried a very bad taste and everybody, therefore, could eat a very small quantity."

Call me fussy but if someone offered ME something black, foul-smelling and awful tasting, I would politely refuse. I mean, how desperate for halwa IS our "religious leadership"?


Sultan said...

Schadenfreude is very very wrong, I wish I could stop laughing.

Would anyone serve their guests something foul-smelling? How hungry would one have to be in order to eat it?

Hamza said...

This is hillarious! Only in Pakistan.

I have a minor query for the writer of this post, though. Why do you suggest that the report in The News is "more credible" than the Dawn?

After having read both articles, I thought they were fairly similar...

Anonymous said...

But in Pakistan, Halwa is not primarily used to signify the good life; the term is used to describe the wages and priveliges of the clergy. "The mullahs are only after their halwa" and so on. Which is what makes this incident very ironic and funny.

Sohaib said...

Aisi soorat-e-haal mein Hazrat Maulana Masood Azhar ke sunehre alfaaz yaad atay hein.