Illustration by Abro

Denial is like popping a tranquiliser to cure a severe headache and then swallowing an aspirin to address stress.

Confused? You should be. Actually you shouldn’t. Because you are a citizen of what is turning out to be perhaps the largest nation of deniers, and maybe even the most confused. So, okay, in that case, it’s okay if you are confused.

Though we tend to almost always look at things in black and white, yet when we do come across something that is really black and white, we are more than likely to explain it as blue and green or just plain orange.

Still confused? Okay, let me put it this way. Imagine a press conference in which the police bring a young suicide bomber (rather a bomber-to-be) arrested before he managed to blow himself up in public at a shrine, mosque or market.

The young lad is paraded in front of media men and asked to tell them what he told the cops.

“I was taken in by the extremists, told that it was my duty to kill infidels who were insulting our faith. I was told that my parents would be taken care of after I die and that I will go to paradise because God had ordained me to kill infidels,” says the boy.

“Who were the extremists?” asks a pressman. “Are they Pakistani?”

“Yes,” the boy answers. “They are Pakistanis.” “Are you sure?” Asks another media man. “Yes, I am.”

“No, I mean, really, really sure?” “Yes, yes… ”  The boy confirms.

“You look a bit nervous. A bit stressed,” says a TV anchor. “Maybe that is affecting your memory.”

One of the senior cops intervenes: “Sir, of course he is stressed. He is hardly 13 years old, and was picked up from his home, taken away from his family, brainwashed and then asked to blow himself up in a crowded marketplace. And now he is under police custody.”

“But how is he sure that those who asked him to do this were Pakistanis?” The anchorman asks.

“Who do you think they were if not Pakistanis?” asks the cop. “Members of some third force?” the anchor alludes.

“No, sir, our investigations have proven that they are very much Pakistani,” the cop explains. “Muslim Pakistanis?” a press man enquires.

“Yes, Muslim Pakistanis.” “How can you prove that?”

The cop is bemused: “What do you mean, sir? We have names and identities of some of the people who picked and brainwashed this boy. They are all Pakistani Muslims.”

A thoughtful looking journalist stares at the boy meaningfully, runs his fingers across his chin and then speaks: “Excuse me? May I ask if this boy is circumcised?”

The cop smiles and says, yes, the boy was circumcised. “So you checked?” “Yes, sir, we did.” “Hmmm …” the journalist runs his fingers across his chin again, “why?”

“Why did we check?” “Yes, why?” “Because that’s what we are always asked by a lot of people whenever we nab a terrorist,” the cop explains. “Why?” the journalist enquires again.

“You should know,” says the cop, now sounding a tad irritated. “You are the media. Why do you ask us these questions?” “Can’t this boy be an agent of an enemy country just like his handlers?” the journalist suggests.

“No, sir, as I said, our investigation led straight to the boys home and family that is very much Muslim and very much Pakistani and his handlers too were Pakistani Muslims many of whom are already on our wanted list and have bounties on their heads,” the cop elucidates.

“I see,” says another TV anchor, “were they all circumcised?”

“Sir, we are more interested in apprehending the culprits than going through old medical and family reports and logs to find out if they were circumcised at birth…” the cop replies now clearly irritated.

His irritation is not about to subside when a reporter stands up and points: “How do we know this kid was really a suicide bomber?”

“Because he told you this himself!” the cop replies. “Maybe you asked him to say this.” “No, sir, we didn’t. You can go and ask his poor parents if you don’t believe us.” “What is his name?” asks the reporter. “Gul Khan.” “Is that his real name?”

“Yes, that’s what he told us, that’s what his parents told us and that’s what his school record says,” “He went to school?” “Yes, in the Lower Dir District.” “The Lower Dir District in Pakistan?” “Sir, is there a Lower Dir District elsewhere as well?” asks the cop. “Yes, right, of course not. But maybe Gul Khan is his code name!” The reporter now adds.

“No, sir, as I told you… why are you people investigating the police?” The cop shouts back, now almost fuming. “It was the boy and his handlers who wanted to kill innocent men, women and children, not the police!”

“Hmmm …” the thoughtful looking journalist runs his fingers across his chin again. “He doesn’t have a beard.” “He’s hardly 13,” the cop reminds the gathering. “And usually the extremists ask their bombers to shave so they are not stopped and checked by the cops.” “Hmmm … so cops check bearded men only?” says the journalist. “Isn’t that discrimination?”

“Sir, we check everyone, so much so that there have also been cases where the extremists have used women bombers in burqas to avoid being checked by the police,” the cop informs.

“Was the boy in a burqa?” asks the journalist. “No, sir, he wasn’t. But there have been some male extremists who have used burqas too.” “Pakistani males?” “Yes, sir, Pakistani males.” “Muslim Pakistani males?”

“Yes, sir.” “Hmmm… in that case, I have another question for you …” The cop interrupts: “Yes, sir! They were all circumcised!” “No, that wasn’t what I was about to ask you.” “Oh sorry. Please ask.” “I was about to ask you if you were circumcised?”

Updated Dec 02, 2012 12:23am

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Comments (Closed)

Dec 02, 2012 06:28am
I am sorry to object your opinion that America is not infidel.They believe in god more than Pakistanis.
Adeel Ahmed
Dec 02, 2012 05:53am
this is so true! media these days in our country is full of imbasils, running after people and not the problems and for their solution. i hope this changes.
Dec 02, 2012 05:13am
Only from Paracha's mind comes a hillarious comedy dealing with a very serious subject. BRAVO!!!
Ganesh (India)
Dec 02, 2012 06:10am
Nadeem Ji, Is there a collection of your articles at one place ??? Please send us link of same if you already one.. or else please arrange to organise your articles at one place where we can refer them.. I believe you are on your way to become one of the greatest cultural/historical/soscietal critique the subcontinent has produced in recent history.. you must be one of worlds brightest cultural critique... I am pretty much sure that Pakisthan will regain its past glory thanks to thinkers like you...
Dec 02, 2012 05:16am
Great Article.....Hats off to rock !!
Dec 02, 2012 04:29am
Ha Ha Ha. Loved it.
Dec 02, 2012 05:44am
Yes, it is a common thing in Islamic society and someone rightly said it is a monolithic society.
Mustafa Kamal
Dec 02, 2012 05:28am
lolz! funny..
Dec 02, 2012 05:24am
In the name of religion everything is right, for them religion is first & humanity is last
raw is war
Dec 02, 2012 04:53am
lol. excellant.
Ash Khan
Dec 02, 2012 04:14am
NFP, well done!
Dec 02, 2012 04:01am
NFP, A great article as usual; thanks. A suggestion: I wish some of your articles get published in urdu dailies.
Dec 02, 2012 04:07am
These are the same questions our religious parties ask they deny that most of the terrorist are Pakistani Muslims . Even qazi Hussain blame the suicide bombing attempt on himself as an American conspiracy. The question I have is how many Pakistanis Muslims can read and understand Quran, what is the literacy rate in Pakistan? Is it not possible that these illiterate Pakistanis can be brain. Washed and used in terrorist activities? During Afghan war didn't our Mullahs and military brain washed Muslim to fight jehad against Russian and used the money provided by Infidel America?
Y Ali Bhatti
Dec 02, 2012 04:10pm
'NFP is the Syd Barrett of satire.' Brilliantly, brilliantly put. I totally agree.
Dec 02, 2012 03:34am
Great job NFP, it's only a matter of hours when the same journalist will comment on this piece under different names!
Dec 02, 2012 03:29am
Excellent. Only NFP can do that. Says so less and conveys so much. Thanks NFP. Thanks Dawn. (There is a simple saying that Pakistani nation needs to think about and understand. I mean really understand. The saying is: Two wrongs do not make a right.)
abu uzhur
Dec 02, 2012 08:41pm
@NFP What a fine surgeon you are ! Feel no pain when you circumcise our minds .
Dec 02, 2012 06:23am
Thanks for the chuckle.
Dec 02, 2012 08:28pm
NFP clearly debunks the following myths: a) Muslims do NOT kill muslims. b) Muslims cannot kill other minorities c) all suicide bombers are foreign conspiracies d) The taliban are being managed by foreign governments e) Pakistani media is able to see the truth and speak out f) Pakistani medai in general is fair to minorities g) pakistani media is fee of bias. He has debunked all of these clearly over and over again, and this article is the jem.
Pind Da Munda
Dec 02, 2012 02:21pm
Denial? You validate that the article by Mr. Paracha is substantive.
Dec 02, 2012 08:48am
Hey genius it is spelled imbeciles...not “imbasils”.
taranveer singh
Dec 03, 2012 01:19pm
world's best seller ? world doesn't revolve around Pakistan
Dec 02, 2012 11:07am
Parvez, be sure about NFP. He is crazy. He can top his own previous writings any time. Personally, I like his bold approach and his thorough exposure to culture (for example, I see use of term 'crazy diamond' inspired by use of the same term for Syd Barrett). Seriously, the biggest quality of NFP is that he (in my belief and judgment) is independent and is not furthering agenda of anyone. I am so sure of it because NFP's writings have a tinge of liberalism and in today's Pakistan, nobody would spend money on buying a liberal or secular writer as the money would go waste. Ironically, it is a more secular system of government that Pakistan needs most desperately. It is about time that Pakistani society frees itself from the 'religious right'. Symbols of our identity need to change from rightist to nationalist, from hypocrite to honest, from conspiracies to creativity, from militariness to economy, from analphabetism to technology, and so on.
Rolex Ranjith
Dec 02, 2012 09:05am
Guys guys... its a joke by abc.. chill..
Omar G.
Dec 02, 2012 08:05am
@sja I wish you were smoking the same instead of sheer hot air.
Omar G.
Dec 02, 2012 08:07am
Dec 02, 2012 08:56am
This is precisely what that have been pointed out in this article dear abc.
Dec 02, 2012 07:58am
Very biased article. The Mumbai attackers were clearely proved to be hndu and sikh RWA agents by Zahi Hamid's, Brastracks and the 9/11 attacks were proven to be a Jews conspiracy by Dr Zakir Naik. Please do your research before writing. Thanks.
Dec 02, 2012 07:52am
How do you identify and prove to most of the people of Pakistan that the terrorist nabbed were Muslim Pakistani males? Answer: They are proved by cops by verifying they are circumcised.If the are circumcised they are Muslim Pakistani males :)
Dec 02, 2012 08:43am
How do you know this? How long have you lived in America? Your comment, and of most others here, suggests that you know nothing about America and Americans,
Dec 04, 2012 05:41am
No wonder the rabbit has to run to SAFETY.
Dec 02, 2012 08:29am
I hope everybody sees the wisdom in NFP. He has pointed out exactly the same mindset as shown by abc in his/her comment. By the way abc, why don't you choose xyz as your nickname. Using abc gives an impression that you are open to learning something. Using xyz will sound like a last word and will suit you more.
Dec 02, 2012 08:34am
They don't essentially 'want to' cover up the truth. It is just that the truth does not seem to fit their perceptions of and expectations from people who happen to be better Muslims than themselves. So, it is their style of denial. Can even be quite innocent and good-intentioned denial. In fact, criminal mided people are using this innocent approach of many Pakistanis and Muslims in general. The criminal ones misuse name of religion and justify their acts in the name of the religion. A whole lot of innocent people end up believing that everything they see is planted by non-Muslims or West or USA, etc.
Dec 02, 2012 08:13am
The fact that Pakistan always lives in self-denial can not be put forth in a better way. Thanks to Mr Paracha.
Dec 02, 2012 08:08am
@abc visit a psychologist soon and have a thorough check up.
Omar G.
Dec 02, 2012 08:04am
I think the mod just mocked you by running your silly comment. I'm sure the ones he/she/they disallowed were even sillier.
Dec 02, 2012 12:16pm
Sure,And,the sky is pink and plants are yellow!
Dec 02, 2012 08:01am
I think the moderator got chocked.He cannot digest more comments :)
Dec 03, 2012 11:26am
Brilliant, well done sir! We are indeed the largest nation of deniers in the world.
Dec 02, 2012 12:10pm
When a kid is caught with his hands in a cookie jar at night and denies the fact it is DENIAL..a very unsophisticated primitive form of psychological defense. This sounds like hounding...the news hounds setting an agenda for themselves to report "news"!! Reminds me of an Irving Wallace novel where a millionaire media mogul "creates" incidences and "reports" them before anyone to boost circulation. As the Pakistani/Muslim readership craves for doctored news,the market is catered to by these journalists!
A. Etchen
Dec 02, 2012 12:08pm
This marvellous piece ought to be printed in large letters, famed and hung in all the press clubs of the country. It is not fictional at all. One often comes across such mindless questions from journalists in press conferences. The denial syndrome, of course, is more widespread. I also firmly believe that a vast majority of my fellow Pakistanis have lost the ability to sift right from wrong on their own. They have become too used to look to others to decide for them.
Dec 02, 2012 11:09am
I go nuts when I see such comments by educated Pakistanis. If this is the knowledge, common sense and the understanding of an educated Pakistani (who can read an English newspaper and write his comments in English), God save Pakistan !!!
Ali S
Dec 02, 2012 11:08am
Humanity? What's that?
Dec 04, 2012 05:42am
Thanks heavens only YOUR HATS OFF FOR NFP------ hahaha
Dec 02, 2012 03:41pm
Rolex, are you actually abc by any chance?
Dec 03, 2012 02:21am
I actually pity some of those media men. They have to somehow justify their pay by bringing up the foreign hand hook-or-crook and thereby doubts into the mind of their listeners. They are so used to this over the past three decades that overwhelming truth and facts have no bearing on their thought processes, or rather, they willingly choose to ignore those. As Manto put it so succinctly, ‘Sab tere siwa kaafir, akhir iska matlab kya? Sar phira de insa’n ka aisa khabt e mazhab kya!’
Bakhtawer Bilal
Dec 02, 2012 11:48pm
No purpose. It is an elaborate scheme to confuse you.
Dec 02, 2012 03:51pm
it is very tough to achieve effortlessness. satires often contain convoluted sentences/situations. your piece does not have such flaws
Dec 02, 2012 11:59am
We are the champion of self denial and confusion at every level of life...
Dec 02, 2012 07:47am
who smoke secularism a lot.
Dec 03, 2012 04:10am
Excellent tale . Entertains enlightens and stimulates ---all in one go . A fictional account which captures reality more intensely than a realistic description can . You deflate our ego , but we feel we have improved as human beings . thank u , NFP.
Dec 02, 2012 02:40pm
Hamir Mir? Come again.
Dec 02, 2012 11:53am
Unable to understand the purpose of the message the author is trying to get across.
Dec 02, 2012 01:47pm
There must be something special in Pakistan soil, which produces some of the finest journalists. NFP, Najam Sethi, Hamid Mir etc. are a few of the examples worth exploration.
taranveer singh
Dec 03, 2012 08:34am
superb !!! as always
Dec 02, 2012 01:03pm
No suicide attacks in Saudi but they are good at exporting this ideology with money to establish brainwashing outlets through their poodles into countries like ours. Sorry to say we are a country of plain denials like an Ostrich's head in the sand and bearing the heavy brunt..
Dec 02, 2012 01:26pm
Haha...funny...I think you didn't get what Nadeem wanted to say ? Denial....After all the moderators also fall into that category....
Dec 02, 2012 02:35pm
Observer, are u saying NFP is crazy diamond:-) BTW I have no doubt that NFP is Syd Barret of satire and thought provoking literature.
Dec 02, 2012 06:17am
haha! nice article bro!
Dec 02, 2012 02:32pm
USA recently started a Program for "World Rabies Eradication". I wonder if there is a possible Cure for "Nation Wide Denial"? If so that might be one of the greatest investements that World Community might contemplate. I am sorry for the Tongue in Cheak remark but that is just my way of expressing my admiration for Nadeem Sahib. May God preserve you for yourr effort in brining sanity to a People who could have and should have better sense.
Dec 02, 2012 06:42am
Good article sir,It shows how some Pakistanis want to cover up the truth and put it beneath the carpet.But truth cannot be covered by denial.The articles shows that some Pakistanis feel very uncomfortable to digest that their own people are about to do or did such horrific acts and the state of Pakistan as a terrorist state. Conclusion: "Truth cannot be covered by Denial."
Sufi Shah
Dec 02, 2012 02:15pm
You are so funny, abc. I am in stitches.
Dec 02, 2012 10:23am
Boss...didnt you get the sarcastic humour in abc's post?????
Dec 02, 2012 06:20am
It's quite simple. Just click on NFP's byline and it will take you to his archives section at Dawn.
Dec 02, 2012 05:47pm
our poor poor media,it will take them a decade atleast to get professional.
Dec 02, 2012 03:08pm
The Crazycops comments will tell you what the article points to.
Dec 04, 2012 04:11pm
Arundati Roy and Hassan Nisar belong to the same category...put forward views which are highly unpalatable..they earn both respect and dislike.. If Arundati Roy invokes respect in Pakistan and Hassan Nisar evokes dislike-well it is human character. No need to categorize anyone as "sellouts"!!!
Dec 02, 2012 03:43pm
Rashid, I wish NFP a longer professional life than Syd Barrett had in his own profession. But in terms of talent and promise, NFP is no less than SB.
Dec 02, 2012 01:40pm
You are damn right . Ask anyone in this society , they would place religion in first place and then their country. Even one of their leaders said it proudly in a debate run by news channel.What can you say in this instance ?
Cyrus Howell
Dec 02, 2012 04:13pm
Liberalism meaning of course anything which is un-Islamic. People are confused because the political theory of The European Age of Enlightenment struck Reactionary Islam of the 20th Century head on. Political "rights"? Absolutely unknown in the history of the Muslim world until the Arab Spring was sprung on Arab dictators. Why do Pakistanis still ask why America dropped atomic bombs on Japan? Did you know Indian (including present day Pakistan fought against Japan). Are you all defending world wide Japanese Buddhism? Liberalism certainly does confuse people in Pakistan. Japan's goal was to enslave China and India. Ning-lau tai-tai a wise old Chinese grandmother steeped in ancient Chinese tradition remarked, "Let the Japanese come in. China has absorbed all of it's conquerors throughout history." Pakistanis are the same. "If the Japanese had come into India Pakistan would have converted them all to Islam." History is what your average Pakistani thinks it is. When you have a brand new country it has to rewrite history in order for someone to rule it. Traditionally Islamic people have lived by just the rule of their despots for a thousand years. The rule is, "Do as I say, not as I do." The Ottoman Sultans were clever enough to know this saved people from doing a lot of difficult thinking.
Dec 02, 2012 06:13am
This is your RAW handler NFP. Stop giving our game away.
Dec 02, 2012 01:11pm
Couldn't get better.Bravo!
Dec 02, 2012 06:34pm
NFP, using your extra-ordinary talent, write a book narrating all denials issued by the Pak state establishments for the past six decades which I am sure would be go in the world's best sellers list in no time.
Dec 02, 2012 03:33pm
I am not sure if my comment is published or not but Rastogi has compared NFP with cheap sell outs.
Dec 02, 2012 09:49am
Amazing.............and I thought you couldn't get any better.
Dec 02, 2012 06:39am
Why to blame the media and police only ? No one blamed media for 26/11 attacks , every one blamed police for that tragedy .Media and police of USA are not responsible for their brainwashing , their own society is responsible .When fate of innocents are in the switch-click by these terrorist , police has to do their duty . It's just a precaution to find out such people and punish them .Not only in USA , you go to Amsterdam and your name will be verified whether you are a Muslim or not . They do it for public safety. I wonder why these suicide blasts don't happen in Saudi , why in other countries ?It's a complete bias.Lets face the fact and fact is in front of us . Until we get the real reason behind this , many of us will be butchered.
Dec 03, 2012 01:13am
Another denial?????
Rubina Alam
Dec 02, 2012 06:54am
Just how does NFP so effortlessly moves from doing epic pieces of recent Pakistan history to punchy social and political satire? He's a highly diversified writer and I am always looking forward to his next article. Huge fan of your, NFP.
Dec 02, 2012 06:53am
Infidel America is sarcastic comment hope you understand as the same qazi Hussain party took money from America to fight Russians at that time America was not infidel but now they are:)
Dec 02, 2012 06:48am
No actually Qazi Sahib & his league are scared of confronting these people who were initially inspired by JI & others ideology of a perfect world that never existed in history. Now when they know the tide has turned & these hardliners are not acceptable to international establishment they have changed their corners. Now poor followers feel more betrayed by them rather than those secular minded people.
Dec 02, 2012 07:59pm
I am the champion of self denial And let every one correct it . Always me not we or they.
Capt C M Khan
Dec 02, 2012 06:31am
@Khan...It is Qazi and his predecerers who are the ones to blame for this line of DENIAL since the past 40 years. They are the ones responsible for GROSS ILLETRACY, GROSS UNEMPLOYMENT and GROSS CORRUPTION. They just need POWER,,,whether given by Zia or anyone else. If they had supported PAKISTAN LOGICALLY we would have excelled in Education, Sports and good moral governance. Mr Pracha very funny and sarcastic at the same time. Thanks.So Sad.