By Mohsin Hamid, Dawn
Last summer in Lahore, I had a little party at my house for the final of the football World Cup. It was a pretty relaxed affair, maybe 20 people, cushions on the TV room floor, pizza on the dining room table. Some of my friends brought friends of their own.
One was an American man. He was wearing a light jacket. After he left, my wife told me he was also wearing a gun. Now, I'm open to my friends bringing their friends to my house. But I'm not very accepting of a friend bringing a gun — or, worse, bringing a complete stranger with a gun. Yet that's what happened, and it left me angry and disturbed.
Like everyone else I knew, I'd heard the stories about large numbers of armed Americans in Lahore, staying at such-and-such hotels, for example, or working out at such-and-such gyms. Maybe I became more sensitive to their presence after the incident at my house, but suddenly I began to see them all around town. To be precise, I didn't know if the men I was seeing were armed. But they looked like Americans, and they didn't look like rock guitarists or maths teachers or irrigation specialists or heart surgeons. They looked, to my unschooled eye, like what I'd expect trained killers to look like.
(Of course it was possible that groups of non-violent, hard-faced, physically fit, all-male Swedish and Dutch and Spanish tourist groups with a niche interest not in ancient outdoor monuments but in the interiors of tacky hotels had descended on Lahore, but I thought this unlikely.)
Then, last month, in broad daylight on a main Lahore road, one such man, Raymond Davis, shot dead two Pakistani citizens with his Glock, and a US consular car sent to retrieve him killed another Pakistani citizen while speeding the wrong way down a street. Davis is being held by the Pakistani police, the US government is demanding that he be released and threatening to withhold aid to Pakistan if he is not, and the wife of one of the Pakistani men killed has committed suicide saying lucidly from her deathbed that her reason for doing so is that she does not expect Davis will be punished for his actions.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan government has tied itself up in obfuscatory knots over what should be the straightforward issue of whether Davis has diplomatic immunity, and therefore whether he can be tried in Pakistan.
[ ... ]
Here in the game preserve, money flows to the hunt. Pakistani extremists are funded, armed and trained. And American hunters, whether far away at the remote controls of Predator drones or on the ground in the form of men with the shooting skills of a Raymond Davis, operate under paid immunity. Want a blanket Tribal Area Hellfire missile licence? Well that might set you back the price of 18 new F-16s. An all-Lahore Glock licence to kill? Perhaps double-oh-seven billion in development aid.
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Thursday, February 17, 2011
By Mohsin Hamid, Dawn
Fred Attewill, Metro
At least 12 people have settled into the listed building in Fitzrovia and they now plan to turn it into a school – offering lessons in successful squatting, among other things.
Police were called to the property at the weekend but the group calling itself the Really Free School refused to budge.
It is unknown if they knew it belonged to the Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels director before they moved in.
Yesterday they were inviting the unemployed to join their cinema club and spend the night in the five-storey property.
'We need occupiers for tonight! Will be film showings in the new cinema. Come sleepover in the most rah property in London,' an online post read.
The group has moved from another address in nearby Bloomsbury, where their 'school' curriculum included classes in anarchy, tarot-reading and social media.
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