Crime Policing Politics World

Send for Ghoti of the Yard

It is the Presidential Palace in Islamabad. A mild-mannered dictator in a beautifully tailored sherwani sits quietly at his desk attending to great affairs of State. He seems perplexed.


There comes a soft knock at the door.

Excuse please Mr President, a private secretary murmurs deferentially. I am introducing Inspector Ghoti of Newscotlandyard.

Ghoti? Who the hell is Ghoti, yaar? I have never heard of this fellow!

Eh, Mr President, not wishing to disagree in any way but you have personally send request to British Prime Minister for high-class police chap with all forensic detective skill.

Why did I do that?

To investigate terrible killing of Begum Bhutto.

Ah! Now I remember. Very well. Show him in. Oh, and while I think of it, run down to paan-wallah and get something for Inspector and myself. And two coffees.

A tall man enters, wearing a belted gaberdine coat and a soft trilby. He seems of vaguely Indian origin, but his speech is clipped and very British.


Good afternoon, Mr President!

President Musharraf rises to greet him.

Inspector Ghoti! You are very welcome to Pakistan.

Why, thank you, Mr President, replies Ghoti. I’m honoured to be invited.

No, no, no, no. Not at all. Not at all. I am wanting this thing solved pronto. No fucking around here, Yaar! Now, straight down to business. Let us decide what your findings will be.

My findings, Mr President?

Of course. Let us decide here and now what your report will conclude and who you would like to blame. I will have them arrested and shot this afternoon.

Ghoti shifts, perhaps a trifle uncomfortably. If I may suggest, Mr President, following Scotland Yard procedures with this matter.

What procedures?

Well, I thought perhaps I should interview witnesses, examine the scene of the crime, review the forensic reports, post-mortem results. That sort of thing?

Oh, procedures procedures procedures! If I wanted procedures I could have called in our own police. I want results. Anyway, I am afraid there is no forensic as fire brigade has washed down accident scene straight away much to my annoyance. And Begum Bhutto is buried and there is no post mortem. But we know what is cause of demise anyway.

You do?

Yes. Cause of Begum Bhutto’s death is sun-roof that had nothing whatever to do with our government and anyway was only accident and not in any sense deliberate assassination in spite of presence of shooter and bomber. And home video. And camera phone. And bullet hole in neck.


Ghoti breathes deeply and raises his eyebrows. I see. And the witnesses?

Oh, Ghoti-ji, there is no need to bother with PPP gangsters. You will hear pack of lies. All is most elaborate suicide by Benazir to create martyr. I am not wishing to cast disparagement but undoubtedly all was Begum Bhutto’s own fault.

I see, says Inspector Ghoti. So the whole thing was a plot between Benazir Bhutto and the Islamists?

Oh, without question. Extremists have gone very extreme. Now where the hell has Malhotra gone with our paan? I am starving!

Bhutto Killed

Crime Humour Politics Religion war World

Suicide Bombers

Well, another day, another atrocity.

MacDara commented on yesterday’s post that religions should get better killers.

It reminded me of an old post, from back in the days when very few people read this site.  It seems appropriate.

Imagine Being a Dead Muslim

Politics World

Benazir Bhutto

UPDATE Since this post was written, Benazir Bhutto has been murdered. The post about that is HERE.

Original postI’m out for a quiet evening with friends when my phone buzzes that irritating text-buzz that I must change some time.

It’s Colonel Bleep.

Watchin news from Karachi?, the message says.

Oh no! I think. Dear God, not again!

You see, in the old days, when Colonel Bleep was probably Corporal Bleep, and I was nobody at all — not even the disembodied internet presence I am today — we were in the habit of meeting up at an undisclosed watering hole during working hours, to discuss matters of great national and international import. And football. With drink. And driving.

We were a disgrace. I admit it, and we’re still a disgrace, with drink but without the driving. Did I mention being considerably older?

I digress.

In those days, meeting up at an undisclosed watering hole, we noticed a disturbing pattern emerging.

The first hint we noticed was just as Bleep was about to order our fourth round of drinks, when a hush fell over the pub. The barman turned up the news, and we learned of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Now, I have to admit I was a little biased against Indira. It wasn’t too long since I’d read Midnight’s Children (. . . the Widow’s hair is green and black . . .) and my sleep patterns were just coming back to normal, so I wasn’t massively desolated by the news. But still, I had to admit it was a bit of a shock. After all, you couldn’t have all these Gandhis being assassinated all the time. And not just Gandhis! Ali Bhutto was whacked not all that long before, by Zia ul-Haq. What the hell was India coming to?

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Bleep turned to me. I turned to Bleep.

Jesus, that’s serious.



A short four years later, we found ourselves in the same undisclosed watering hole, tucking into our third round of pints when a hush fell over the pub and the barman turned up the news. General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq had just been killed in a mysterious air-crash.

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Bleep looked at me. I looked back at Bleep.

Do you know what? he said.


These nefarious meetings of ours are having a disastrous effect on the Indian sub-continent.

True, I replied. Pint?


We never again met at that undisclosed watering-hole, and it seems to have worked, because there were no further assassinations of Indian or Pakistani leaders.

Well, that’s not strictly true. I thought I’d gloss quickly over the unexpected exit of Rajiv Gandhi the following year, but Devin was too quick for me and swiftly saw through my subterfuge. The truth is, we only had one quick shot at the bar, thinking it would take at least three to do any lasting damage. How wrong we were.

That was why Bleep’s text message worried me so much.

Karachi? I replied. You can’t mean . . . ?

Indeed, came the ominous reply. Benazir Bhutto convoy attacked.

But, I texted back, we’re not at the undisclosed watering hole.

Indeed not, answered Bleep. And just as well. Bhutto safe!

Thank God we never again drank in that pub.

See also

Benazir Bhutto Killed

Imagine being a dead Muslim

Peace, Freedom and Democracy

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