Conversation with Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari and Sherry Rehman: Aaj Ka Manto Talks with His “Sweet and Sour” Friends
(Aaj Ka Manto Aap Ke Sath…)
by Aslam Ansari/Roshan mirza
Notes by Aslam Ansari, the author:
“Secret Sex Life of Benazir Bhutto…” Initially, I have written this story with my pen name roshan mirza (that is associated with my photographic work).
Now I am going to continue my writing work with my name, Aslam Ansari.
I have taken some of my life’s inspirations from Ibn-e-Safi, the pioneer of detective & investigative novels in Pakistan. He wrote all his life with his pen name “Ibn-e-Safi”. Earlier, he had written in India with pen name, “Tughral Farghan”.
(Ibn-e-Safi created the original characters of Imran, Colonel Fareedi and Captain Hameed).
His characters, especially Imran created the inspiration… And I am somewhat real. I take John le Carré as my “long-distance” teacher.
Aaj Ka Manto Aap Ke Sath… Let’s talk!
To my “sweet and sour friends”:
Sherry Rehman / B.B Benazir / Bilawal baba / and yes, the Godfather Mister Zardari…
“So you did not like my writings about secret sex lives of Benazir Bhutto and her entourage…”
But what you have seen, it’s only the glimpse of the larger picture and you know what else is there! Perhaps you’d like to prevent the rest of the story to come into the limelight. You know what I am saying in hushed tones…
Fine, I welcome your disliking and opposition to this work. Yes, I really welcome it. And now I am going to respond to all your objections, questions and thoughts on this subject – including a very commonly raised objection (by several readers also) that when someone is dead, we should not reveal the dead one’s faults.
100 years of Saadat Hasan Manto – a treasure of Urdu literature.
What could be a gift to this great writer and social critic of his time – on the occasion of his 100 years?
It’s time that his spirit should come forward and speak with today’s “Godfathers” and
goddesses -les femmes fatales…
It’s my tribute to Manto that I move on with his living spirit and play with you as
“Aaj Ka Manto” (today’s Manto) - in the playgrounds that you have been dominating for so long…
But this dominance of yours has emerged from your prowess played only upon the weakest - hard-working farmers, poor and helpless peasants… The source of your power lies on the exploitation of
the weakest in society. You have never come across a man like me (and my sweet and sour friends,
I am still putting it modestly about myself.)
Let’s begin from this point… Because whenever there’s a rising concern about behind-the-scene lives of political figures, this argument is thrown out as a ready-made defence to cover-up everything. The aspect of privacy and “private life” cannot arise in this context. When you lead a public life at the expense of public (not only in the economic sense, but at the expense of their hopes, their dreams of a better life and tolerant societies) – you’re answerable to public for all the aspects of your life! Bill Clinton’s light romantic/sexual affair with one individual woman was not forgiven. So how another leader’s far more wild acts could be overlooked? If some horrible acts are performed in privacy, that privacy should be broken with a big-bang. And you know it is still a light knock on your doors. But the “big-bang” is also just on your doorsteps. You’re hearing the bell ringing. Listen to the “voice within the voice”… My sweet and sour friends, everybody’s got to learn sometime. And this is your learning time!
Who am I and what’s coming up?
Oh Mister Zardari… Now for the next few moments, I will be addressing to you in particular,
and then I will get back to all other friends. You must be surprised that how I am calling your team
as “my friends”. Yes, I consider everyone my friend. Even the adversaries and rivals are my friends because I can learn from them. And I can tame them as well, if I want to. I am a shepherd -
the shepherd/thinker… I have said, “Conflicts could be the diamonds if one knows how to cut them.”
So Mister Zardari, my friend (the Godfather friend), the master Saadat Hasan Manto was a writer,
a great writer (examining the society and trends through writing) – but with his extended spirit,
Aaj Ka Manto has many other sharp-edge tools as well – in his workshop. He can play with you any kind of games you choose!
In 1992/1993, there was the news in Pakistan that you had cornered a businessman and put a bomb around his leg and forced him to pay you a large sum of money. This was your gangster side.
At that time when I heard about this, I said to one of my friends, addressing to YOU in absentia,
“Baba, suna hai TUM lugon key panoon mein bomb bandh detey ho. Baba kabhi hamare sath bhi to khelo ni. Phir zara khel ke rang dekhna…” (Baba, I have heard that you put the bomb around people’s’ legs. Baba, someday come and play with me. And then see the colours of the game…). In 2010,
you were on a foreign visit. I called your ADC Major Jehanzeb and asked him to arrange my meeting with you for a discussion. And I told him to pass my words to you precisely in this manner,
“Baba tum ‘darbaryoon’ se tu hameisha milte ho, kabhi khilarioon se bhi to milo ni” (Baba you always meet ‘darbarees/praising people’ only, someday meet with some player as well).
So you had put a bomb around the legs of that simple business person to get a large sum of money… Now listen, I don’t like to speak using the terminology of arms and weapons. These are not my tools. But since your act actually emerged with that kind of stuff… I would respond to you in this terminology… Today, with my “discoveries” about you and your entourage, I have put an “advanced smart bomb” around your thick neck… you’re listening the click-click… And now you know that no matter wherever you get a refuge, in bullet-proof cars, in villas surrounded by high walls blocked by heavy containers – you’re not protected anymore!
Because your gangster side is an important aspect of your personage, so I must address to this trait first:
Now to play with your gangster side, I am your Al Capone, the legendary gangster – but a “new-age Al Capone”, a legitimized Al Capone going along with the law, moving on “legitimate”. This is your Al Capone legitimized – a sign of trouble for the sharks around. Or perhaps I am a lover-gone-wild… But this aspect is for our ladies around - les femmes fatales. For you my Al Capone side is fine!
To play with your political networking, here I am your “player-in-the lobbies...” I will not let the “Big players” to support you at least in this particular context. I am a good player. And I have set the fielding in every corner of the playground. Either you will be clean-bold or catch-out by a fielder. The fielding is tight my friend, well actually, one of my sweet and sour friends! Remember, you’re all my friends, like it or not!
For the relevant evidences about the story of secret sex lives of people exposed in my report, I have already clearly emphasized in the 1st part of my writings that I will warmly welcome you in any court of law for an open debate and cross-examination of evidences. I have already handed-over all evidences to some officials from a high authority in a European country that is connected to a chain of events related to this affair. Let’s come across each other in judicial playgrounds as well. And I assure you, we ALL will get our “due share” - you Mister Asif Zardari, Sherry Rehman (Pakistan’s Ambassador-in-style), Bilawal baba, B.B Benazir in absentia, and myself as well… And this will be a “poetic justice” of modern times! Actually we all need our “due share” in this poetic justice that I am designing… This is a “legal thinker” talking to you…
Mister Zardari tumharey sath play karne ke liey mere ander ke chaar players ready hein (Mister Zardari, to play with you, 4 players within me are ready):
- An Al Capone, the advanced gangster (but moving along with law) to beat the criminal in you!
- A “player-in-the lobbies” to play with the politician in you…
- A “legal thinker” to beat you and the team of your lawyers in any judicial battle…
- And a thinker and writer (a sweet and sour friend as well) to teach you a refined lesson.
Now it’s up to you whom you want to deal with.
What’s your role in this story?
You’d like to see your son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to be the future head of state, and you’re contributing your full support to realize this motivation. And you would certainly defend him in all his conduct (political, social or sexual…). So you’re present in this affair!
You might think why I am addressing to you in such harsh tone… Why I am throwing hard balls towards you… I must be your enemy?
OH NO, you’re not that powerful… that I can even think of becoming your enemy. Okay, you’re a tiny-little point lying-down somewhere in the chain of power-games… But you’re not a part of the “GANGS” who own the infrastructures. You’re not a part of the “SystemS Theory” (the control and internal governance of systemS).
BHUTTO LEGACY/ETHICAL INTERVENTION
Whenever something comes up exposing the affairs of people related to Bhutto, an immediate objection and question is thrown out… “This is to damage the Bhutto legacy!”
Well, I am not “anti-Bhutto” in any sense! And I am not into any active politics. I am not a part of any political party at all! But I am an awaked citizen. And as an “awaked citizen”, I take it as my ultimate right to make an “intervention” where it’s ethically necessary and where the law of nature is also providing me the possibility to make that “ethical intervention”. In the present scenario, I see both an “ethical necessity” and a “possibility” to intervene in certain large issues…
Actually I like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, his leadership and his personality (though I have never been associated with his Peoples Party). I just liked his personality. And I loved and still love his ground-concept of a social revolt “necessities for everyone”. I am all (with all the depth of my heart, mind and soul) for this concept, and will always be loyal to this ideology. But his party PPP and his dream of a social revolt have been “hijacked” by the gangs of ruthless looters. Peoples Party leadership needs to be changed. It should be led by those who are sincere and loyal to the underlying principles that this great leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto tried to establish – not by these gangs who are capitalizing IN HIS NAME!
An illicit financial transaction through a lady engaged in sex parties:
By the way, Mister Zardari, just recently – a new element has emerged… And this involves YOU as well – indirectly in this sex affair:
A transaction was offered by YOU through Benazir – to a woman who had been engaged in sexual adventures with Benazir’s group… The offer was for the export of rice from Pakistan to a Lebanese businessman in Africa. This woman friend of Benazir presented this offer to Lebanese importer in Africa. The strange element of this offer was that the price of the rice was extremely low, far lower than half of the usual market price. The businessman sensed a “money-laundering” plan in this transaction. And he refused this offer. I will be getting more elements of this affair quite soon…
Now to my sweet and sour ladies… the wild ladies in sex parties:
So here I am with you, my “sweet and sour” ladies-in-action…
Hello ladies, listen to my flute…
Let’s dance with the sound of my flute…
Let’s dance on the beats of my flute…
I’m your snake charmer in the jungle, let’s dance around…
Lady Sherry Rehman and B.B Benazir, I don’t condemn your sexual adventurism outright!
I can understand and grasp the urge for all kind of wilderness that could emerge within one’s existence and in the diversity of one’s soul. I know when you reach to a certain point of large-scale success in life, and you dance on the BEATS of the music… then the beats of your success & position blend with the music around, and it takes you to a sense of exaltation… And in those moments you feel yourself above everything, above everyone and above any set of rules. You find yourself in a different world, above the world we live in. I am not saying that you SHOULD or SHOULDN’T have done that! But perhaps you could utilize the power and spirit of those moments. I wish if you could diversify the energy derived from your sexual freedom towards the greater good of people living in everyday’s world. But you did not bother for this. You remained in your closed-door heavens.
There’s one thing you should know as well. You see I have written the relevant names of all big fishes and crocodiles openly, without any hesitation. But one name I have not mentioned anywhere. That is the woman in UAE whom I am calling as Kiran… She is one of your closest friends. You know whom I am talking about… She’s among your group but she is so different from all of you. So I look at her in a different way. She had all the logical reasons to come forward with harsh tone towards me. But she did not do that. So this is my tribute to her, keeping her away from this jungle. Kiran also wanted to write a book about behind-the-scene sex life of Benazir Bhutto. But you stopped her. She wanted to understand the depth and underlying forces behind sexual adventurism among women… She was trying to develop diverse perspectives about libertine sex and share it with the world. She was keen to make a contribution to the human awareness. But you just wanted to cover-up everything and dominate everyone. She is like a “kiran” from the moonlight – not a siren for the black out. When she speaks, it’s like music. And when you speak out, it’s the sound of the heavy tides… and one has to look out for a hut around… I was going to coordinate with Kiran in her quest for gathering the broken pieces to complete a larger picture. This book might have written by her. But you ruthlessly stopped her. Now when I publish the complete version of my book after this outline of the news report – I will attribute this book to Kiran! That will be my gift to you, sweetheart Kiran… This will be your book!
Lady Sherry Rehman, I think you know the meaning of “Sherry” in French. It means “my dear”. So don’t get angry my sweet Sherry Aunti, I’m your naughty-boy… Let’s dance with the tides of your anger, along the ocean of your wilderness. To me you’re just a little lost girl who has gone wild in the jungle – a jungle that lies in every city, in every town…
And now something about your unusual sexual practices:
Sexual adventurism… I might understand this. But even erotica has certain boundaries. I know, you believe on human progress through liberal ideas. Fine, but human evolution has taken place only by adopting certain rules, mechanisms, civilized methods and boundaries…Even for erotica, you don’t have to be blind. You know what I am talking about…We’ll get back to these aspects later – in the next phase of our conversation. OR perhaps we can prevent this phase to rise-up…
Now to the social taboos surrounding around almost all of us… As I said earlier that a commonly raised objection by many people on my writings about “secret sex life of Benazir Bhutto” refers to a dictum: “When someone is dead, we should not reveal the dead one’s faults.” Here first I will quote Saadat Hasan Manto – some passages from his book, “Ganjay Farishtey” (bald-head angels):
Once, Manto started writing a new series of biographical sketches of some writers, poets, film actors and actresses in a magazine Aafaq. His descriptions were very realistic. So a lot of people criticized him for giving such cutting-edge and sharp-tone portraits of their favourite people (some of whom had already died). Here is what he wrote as one single response in his book that addressed to everyone:
“Mujhey ye kaha jata hai ke dunya ke her mohizzab mulk aur mohizzab samaj mein ye usool murawij hai ke marne ke bad khawah dushman hi kion na ho usey achey alfaz mein yad kia jata hai. Us ke sirf mehasin bian kiey jate hain aur ayoob par parda dala jata hai. Wesey mein aisi dunia par, aisey mohizzab mulk par, aisey mohizzab samaj par hazar lanat bhejta hoon jehan ye usool murawij ho ke marne ke bad har shakhz ka kirdar aur tashakhuz laundry mein bheij dia jaaey jehan se wo dhul-dhula kar aaey aur rehmat-ullah-aleh ki khunti par latka dia jaeey. Mere islah-khane mein koi shana naheen, koi shampoo naheen, koi ghungar peda karne wali machine naheen… Mein banao-singhar karna naheen janta. Agha Hashar ki kani aankh mujh se seedhi naheen ho saki. Uske mun se galion ke bajaey mein phool naheen jhara saka. Meera Jee ki zilalat par mujh se istiri naheen ho saki. Aur na mein apney dost Shyam ko majboor kar saka ke wo barkhood aurtoon ko salian na kehey. Is kitab mein jo bhi farishta aaia hai, uska moondan huwa hai aur ye rasam mein ne barey saliqey se ada ki hai.”
(I am advised that in every civilized country, in every civilized society, this principle is practiced that once someone is dead, even if he’s an enemy, he is remembered in good words. His qualities are mentioned and his faults are covered. But I would curse a thousand times to such a world, such a civilized country, such a civilized society where this custom is practiced that after the death, every person’s character and identity is sent to the laundry from where he is returned completely washed/purified and hanged on the wall in a sacred manner. In my parlor, I don’t have any grooming, no shampoo, no machine to make curly hairs… I don’t know the mak-up. I could not straighten Aagha Hashar’s crooked eye. I could not get flowery words from his mouth instead of his dirty language. I could not iron Mira Jee’s meanness. And neither I could force my friend Shyam that he should not call women as “salian”/someone like his own… Any angel who has appeared in this book, his head is shaved, and this job, I have done very skilfully.)
Here I would strongly add my dictum as well: “Agar kuch lugon ke marney ke baad bhi, unkey aamal ka asar (unke mojooda warisoon ke zariey), aagey aney wali nasloon pe parr sakta hai, aur phir “wo waris” public ko lead bhi karna chahate hain head of the state ban kar, aur unsey millions ka mustaqbil bhi mutassir hota hai - tu phir un barron ke barey mein, agar wo mar bhi chukey hain, tu unki khamioon aur burayoon ki na sirf baat bhi karni chahiey, bulkey zaroorat parey tu uneh qabar se nikal kar post-martem bhi karna chahiey – eik bar phir forever dafan karne ke liey! Aur ye kam mein apni workshop mein buhat achi tarha anjam dey reha hoon…”
(If some people’s acts, even after their death (through their heirs) can affect the coming generations, and these heirs also want to lead the public by becoming the head of state in future, and it can affect the future of millions – then about those elders, even if they’re dead, not only there should be the open talk revealing their acts but if the need arises, they should be taken out from their graveyards for the autopsy – once again to bury them forever! And this work, I am performing in my workshop with precision…)
A LITTLE POINT TO REMEMBER FOR MY SWEET AND SOUR FRIENDS:
Please don’t ask any “darbaree” (intermediary) to contact me. I will not speak to them. I would talk only with the people concerned. I think it’s NOT a hard suggestion.
Aslam Ansari is a documentary filmmaker based in Paris. He moves between Paris and London. He is also engaged in photography. His photographic work is related to current affairs.