I spy

Published: February 9, 2011
The writer is a standup comedian 

The writer is a standup comedian sami.shah@tribune.com.pk

Raymond Davis, it turns out, was no Jason Bourne. My entire life, a heady mix of popular culture and conspiracy theory, described all American ‘secret agents’ as Silent Warriors Who Kill Efficiently. If Raymond Davis actually is a spy, placed by the US to commit acts of espionage, then I am sorely disappointed. Sure he killed with efficiency, nary a bullet wasted, but you never see Matt Damon pumping someone full of bullets, taking a picture with his cell phone and then getting caught by an enraged mob. The spies of my imagination would have snapped a neck or two, vaulted onto the nearest rooftop and then disappeared into the night. Maybe pinching a vital nerve cluster of any witnesses along the way that would have caused memory loss and an overwhelming sense of awe.

Instead, all we have is a pudgy white guy who looks terribly frightened, as angry Lahoris press in on him from every side. Of course, it’s a given that this case is always going to reveal less than it really is. Were the two boys killed actually spies? Is Raymond Davis a spy? Am I a spy? Are you? Also, are we in violation of the Vienna Convention? What is the Vienna Convention? Where is Vienna anyway? Should we just hand him back? Should we swap him for Dr Aafia? Should we tie him to a drone and airdrop him onto the violent streets of Sialkot?

These are the things we do know: Raymond Davis is American. Which means that Pakistanis are going to overreact in every possible way to this. Protests against him have so far been small, but should he be given a one-way ticket back to America on the next PIA (or is it Turkish Airways) flight, then watch people lose their collective minds. We also know that since Raymond Davis is American, the US will handle this in the worst possible way. All the cultural sensitivity seminars their government attends and efforts at improving their image will be completely forgotten as they resort to overbearing bullying. You can expect country music songs about him and a feature film starring George Clooney by summer. In 3D no less. They have already threatened to cut off our foreign aid supply, which as everyone knows, we are addicted to worse than Afghan heroin.

There is a silver lining to this whole debacle though: For the first time in ages, Liberals and Conservatives agree on something. Both groups have been at odds with each other for a while now, disagreeing on everything from the blasphemy law to the role of Islam in the state to whether or not Hamid Mir understands what a ‘Fascist’ is. Yet, on this one issue, both agree that the final decision should be made by rule of law. Let the courts decide Raymond Davis’s final fate. If they decide to punish him here, American pressure and Vienna Convention be damned, then watch Liberals and Conservatives hugging on the streets. If the LHC decides to hand him back then watch Conservatives burn creatively designed effigies while Liberals write acerbic blog entries against America. It’s irrelevant that, constitutionally speaking, the final decision on this issue should actually come from the Pakistan Foreign Office. Opportunities like this don’t come very often. Let’s not let details get in the way of this Liberal-Conservative union.

In the end though, only one person is to blame for all of this: Raymond Davis himself. If, like a proper spy, he had killed those two men using Karate and then transformed his car into a high-powered jet that flies him back to America, flight path managed by his spy-watch, then none of this would have happened.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (53)

  • Mohsin Junaid
    Feb 9, 2011 - 11:27PM

    Excellent man…one more point from javed Choudhary’s column that federal government and punjab government will put all the fuss on judiciary which was/is hyper active and hence, danger for both.Recommend

  • Feb 9, 2011 - 11:30PM

    lol great. specially the second paraRecommend

  • nadiyah rahman
    Feb 9, 2011 - 11:34PM

    The sarcasm in an issue as sensitive as this really stinks. Duh!Recommend

  • wendeth khan
    Feb 9, 2011 - 11:45PM

    While I agree with much written, my question here is this…..regarding the Dr. Aafia case, why is it that Pakistani’s suddenly respect the “law of the land” for Mr. Davis, but have no respect for the “law of the land” for Dr. Aafia. My opinion is not placed in the question, I am merely curious on the psychology, my opinion is being held in hopes to receive a pure answer based solely on the questionRecommend

  • Sajid
    Feb 10, 2011 - 12:06AM

    Mr. Shah, maybe you are forgetting that he KILLED 3 people. Its court who would decide.
    and even if there is any kind of “diplomatic immunity” according to VC, it must be rejected.
    Killing people and take the immunity, and even refusing to trial in US courts..
    i would like to have your comments…Recommend

  • Hassaan
    Feb 10, 2011 - 12:11AM

    brilliant brilliant brilliant!!Recommend

  • Feb 10, 2011 - 12:17AM

    Usually I enjoy the wittiness in your articles, this issue is large and trivializing it only works against all interests of Pakistan, liberal or conservative. Recommend

  • Feb 10, 2011 - 12:39AM

    “You can expect country music songs about him and a feature film starring George Clooney by summer. In 3D no less.”

    This reminds me of ‘Wag the Dog’ :)Recommend

  • Feb 10, 2011 - 1:15AM

    great post!!! Reading anything by sami shah is always a treat!Recommend

  • Talha
    Feb 10, 2011 - 2:36AM

    Were the two boys killed actually spies? Is Raymond Davis a spy? Am I a spy? Are you?

    LOL, you are just a hoot. The second paragraph was enough to cheer me up.

    Well done.Recommend

  • Shock horror
    Feb 10, 2011 - 2:45AM

    @wendeth khan:
    This is the case because a majority of Pakistanis are hypocrites! Period.Recommend

  • Hasan Bin Hamza
    Feb 10, 2011 - 4:44AM

    Boring start … picks up in the second para only …Recommend

  • Rabia
    Feb 10, 2011 - 5:30AM

    Good one, Sami. Very funny. Recommend

  • Brum
    Feb 10, 2011 - 6:43AM

    @wendeth khan – you are clearly an american/zionist/hindu/liberal/socialist/atheist spy. why else would you pose a reasonable question and expect a reasonable answer? Recommend

  • Truthseeker
    Feb 10, 2011 - 7:19AM

    This Raymond{WHO(not World Health Organisation)} reminds me of Ludwig Wittgenstein who wrote in ‘A Memoir’:
    A person caught in a philosophical confusion is like a man in a room who wants to get out
    but does not know how.He tries the window but it is too high.He tries the chimney but it is too narrow.And if he would only ‘turn around’, he would see that the door has been open all the time.

    Consider the person as Pakistani society(public and governments included), philosophical confusion for Pakistani society is being created by the rhetoric of honour and dignity on one side versus the social and economic fallout on the other.Window is to accept him as a diplomat, or chimney is to punish him. ‘Turn around’ phase will eventually come, but how and when, just wait and see.

    Time is a great healer , and Pakistanis are famous for forgetting painful experiences, Is there anybody talking about ‘Lynching of Sialkoti Brothers’? A door will eventually open so that painful memories should fly away. Recommend

  • Amna
    Feb 10, 2011 - 7:51AM

    @wendeth khan: There was no physical evidence against Aafia Siddiqui, but we know for sure that Raymond Davis has killed two people and his friends ran over a third. The US gave Aafia an 86 year sentence based on no evidence, but has a problem with Pakistan trying a man who is clearly a murderer. And, there is many other shady details emerging about this guy.Recommend

  • Saira
    Feb 10, 2011 - 9:36AM

    Very well written, An excellent read.Recommend

  • Ali
    Feb 10, 2011 - 9:38AM

    @ Wendeth Khan, very very rational comment. hats off! Recommend

  • Uzi Khan
    Feb 10, 2011 - 10:14AM

    However, the biggest question is that how much pressure can our courts take…both the provincial and fed govt are taking refuge behind the courts…I wonder why the foreign office opted to stay mum in this issue and turn it into a mystery. Mr. Davis is either a diplomat who came here on the diplomatic visa or not, we still hen’t heard a clear statement on this imp issue, which is actually decisicive in the solution of this case. And who crushed the third person? where is that jeep? i believe those were the real spies who transformed thier car into some super flying jet and flew back to States etc..Recommend

  • Junaid Chughtai
    Feb 10, 2011 - 10:16AM

    3 people murdered followed by one widow suiciding.. an issue i wont try my sarcasm onRecommend

  • mussarat ahmedzeb
    Feb 10, 2011 - 10:19AM

    how true we are addicted to aid like heroin,it is time now to cure ourself and get admission in a rehab.Recommend

  • Khawaja Faraz
    Feb 10, 2011 - 10:21AM

    @wendeth khan:
    cuz Afia firstly was kidnapped from Pakistan and shifted To bagram and then finally moved to states….
    is Afia Guilty i dont know but why ISI did not pick me up and moved to Bagram?Recommend

  • SUB
    Feb 10, 2011 - 11:03AM

    Why there is no mention of that 3rd poor chap killed by the SUV, was he also a side kick of the pillion riding “bandits”? In my opinion you being a standup comedian are pretty average while writing blogsRecommend

  • shaikh adeel ahmed
    Feb 10, 2011 - 11:25AM

    liberal??? Conservatives???
    And then its you,totally confused although you are a good writer but your perception,sir with due respect (or not) you need a life.
    About the funny for people who loves sarcasm (not like but love) and a totally confusing perception.
    And 1 more thing which side are you on liberal or conservatives or is there any other term(besides confused)?Recommend

  • Tahir Shafi
    Feb 10, 2011 - 11:25AM

    Pakistani Intellectuals, thinkers and critics are alo divided on the issue of Reymond Davis. One section os of the view that America would adopt the approach of stick and would threaten to isolate Pakistan on socio-economic front and more importantly, military aides. The other section is of the view that America is only showing its anger verbally and is not in a position to bully Pakistan due to its strategic location (Nato Supplies) and supposedly strong role in the future face saving of America in Afganistan.
    If we stand together at this critical point, especially the political parties, America would atleast start respecting Pakistan as we have a critical role to play in te exit strategy of America from Afghanistan. Recommend

  • Waqar
    Feb 10, 2011 - 12:17PM

    @wendeth khan:
    Was Dr. Afia captured in US. If she was than Law of the LAnd applies and if she was not than you can’t apply US law to punish her..So she should hv been tried in Pakistan or Afghanistan

    Pakistanis do not protest against any terrorist being tried in US who was caught in US.Recommend

  • Ovayce
    Feb 10, 2011 - 12:21PM

    @Khawaja Faraz
    ISI will not pick you up and transfer you to Bagram. Aafia is a neuro-scientist and no one in America is even close to her credentials. She would have done wonders in neurology if she had been doing research in neurology.Recommend

  • Chips
    Feb 10, 2011 - 12:37PM

    Let us live with dignity and pride. Recommend

  • Gasherbrummistani
    Feb 10, 2011 - 12:49PM

    I agree with the premise here that Davis was a miserable spy. Heck, even his choice of girlfriend is severly flawed for a spy. Spy girls can typically steer their way out of trouble when given the wheel, while in this case she only only adds to the mess by running over another local. Worse still, it is rumoured that the girl was actually a guy. Can’t even imagine a Brokeback version of the Bourne series.

    One thing with which I disagree is your opinion of what the silver lining is in this whole fiasco. For me, it has to be the opportunity for Georgie C to spend a lot more quality time with Fatima. Now that would be one of the best things to happen to Pakistan for a long time, since we ain’t winning the World Cup again!Recommend

  • Jeddy
    Feb 10, 2011 - 1:03PM

    Now we know why the USA is not making headway in Afghanistan.Recommend

  • Anon
    Feb 10, 2011 - 1:36PM

    Last para is extremely insensitive. You’re trying to make light of two people he killed, show alittle respect.Recommend

  • parvez
    Feb 10, 2011 - 2:00PM

    Not one of your best pieces.
    The Americans should have left it up to our courts to decided because after our police have worked their magic and a ruling is given in such matters, it is always ” acquitted for lack of evidence.” Recommend

  • Usman
    Feb 10, 2011 - 2:52PM

    excellent piece, probably the best by Sami Shah Recommend

  • sulehri
    Feb 10, 2011 - 4:18PM

    if it is funny, i really doubt your sense of humor. In fact, all senses.Recommend

  • Miss Haq
    Feb 10, 2011 - 4:59PM

    Its a shame, that we dont value the lives of Pakistanis, no matter if its a ‘khud-kush’ hamla or they are shot or are over run by someone. Why is it just another news for us? Why cant for heavens’ sake we take our people seriously? Why divide? Why, what US does is so meaningful and what we do is all crap? Why their lives are more important to them and our lives least (I could find a lower word than that) even to us?

    And yes If you think he wasnt a spy, what on earth was he doing with a knife… a camera… guns? and he so knew what distance he is supposed to shoot from so that it doesnt break its windscreen, Why why why?..

    He had his camera on while the Lahore police interrogated him!
    No matter what, he is smart!!

    Dear Sami Shah, people like you and I are needed to be one and are desired to show the world that Pakistan is NOT just another slave-country serving to America (I know we are too dependent), we seek aid but dont wish to give away our rights and prestige!

    —-P.s: I am not much of a good writer, but just tried to convey my point!!.. Recommend

  • Blast
    Feb 10, 2011 - 7:25PM

    If Davis was chased by the men killed he would have run car to a police station or any other safe govt. place for refuge and should have solved a common problem in Pak against foreigners very amicably A murderer is a murderer Onus is on him to prove that it was in self defenseRecommend

  • Ashwin
    Feb 10, 2011 - 9:25PM

    Brilliant your the best on tribune, sorry no offence to others.One thing that comes out in all your articles refreshing honesty, with a touch of pun.Thank for your opinion on Raymond or is it Diamond davis.Recommend

  • Feb 10, 2011 - 11:35PM

    Now THIS is news!Recommend

  • Shazy
    Feb 11, 2011 - 12:33AM

    Now this is some funny s* Thumbs up for ya Sami Boy :DRecommend

  • rehan
    Feb 11, 2011 - 2:04AM

    @Wendeth.I am a Pakistani.I respect the law of the land of the US.Forget Davis..will the US Embassy/Consulate respect our law too and hand over those who ran over the third victim? This ‘psychology’ has got me curious too.You have a nice AMERICANPAKISTANI name though..:)Recommend

  • Feb 11, 2011 - 8:45AM

    I enjoyed the groucho marxy.style of the second para.Recommend

  • bella
    Feb 11, 2011 - 9:42AM

    excellent. the most balanced and articulate piece i have seen in the tribune. thank you for saying what others are unable or unwilling to provide – educated comment and balance. Recommend

  • Yasir Siddiqui
    Feb 11, 2011 - 9:58AM

    You have chosen to be funny around an issue which is not funny at all. It is in fact sensitive and close to people’s hearts given that we have just learnt that the poor guys were Pakistani agents who were assigned to keep an eye on this Raymond moron. 3 people lost their lives, 1 committed suicide, for 3 or may be more families it will not be the same again … and you find it funny!

    Specially the last para where you have so mercilessly written
    “if, like a proper spy, he had killed those two men using Karate and then transformed his car into a high-powered jet that flies him back to America, flight path managed by his spy-watch, then none of this would have happened”.

    You ought to give an apology to the effected families, the readers of Express Tribune in particular and to the entire nation in general.
    It would have been interesting to see your sarcasm if someone close to you had lost his life in that unfortunate incident.Recommend

  • SA
    Feb 11, 2011 - 1:38PM

    @Truthseeker: Sad truth.. yes they forget, I guess out of no choice than indifference. Speaking of sialkot incident, how many of us know that for the past three months there has been no progress in their case. This is how the anti-terrorist courts work in Pakistan! But who cares?Recommend

  • Kashif
    Feb 11, 2011 - 2:24PM

    Dear Sami Shah,

    With Your Picture Appearence You seem to be a reasonable and mature person, but this comic article that you have written on such a sensitive issue is not at all responisble act… Dont believe what ever you see in 007 movies and similar. ONE NOTE: ANY ONE IF ANY VIOLATES THE LAW HE / SHE SHOULD BE PUNISHED… LAW SHALL BE APPLICABLE TO ALL IN EQUAL STATUS.

    YOU cannot HAVE DIFFERENT LAWS for Rich and Sourcefull and Different LAWS for Poor or those who do not have any influential link / support. Nations got Destroyed due to Lack of Justice an Equality in Society. (Justice shall be Done on Merit) peace.Recommend

  • Bilal A.
    Feb 11, 2011 - 2:55PM

    @Yasir Dude, calm down! Anyone reading this with half a brain can see Sami Shah is just making fun of Mr. Davis. If he is disrespecting anyone in this it’s the american killer. You are clearly reacting without even bothering to read it properly. Recommend

  • MP1
    Feb 11, 2011 - 3:26PM

    Its funny how a comedian is actually one of the few writers at tribune actually worth reading. This reminds me of Twelfth Night where Fest the jester was the only one who comment intelligently on the actions of the others.Recommend

  • MP1
    Feb 11, 2011 - 3:27PM

    Its funny how a comedian is actually one of the few writers at tribune actually worth reading. This reminds me of Twelfth Night where Fest the jester was the only one who could comment intelligently on the actions of othersRecommend

  • Feb 11, 2011 - 10:05PM

    Well done Sami. Keep it up.Recommend

  • Umair Waheed Sheikh, Khayban e Hafiz,IBA Karachi
    Feb 12, 2011 - 11:27AM

    Well what did he do wrong. If you had 2 guys following you on a motorbike with guns in holsters what would you do? He did what he could. Lets not forget he was in a car and therefore could have been an easy target. Why do people forget this that why would anyone, either with a bit of sense or a lunatic, would want to shoot from a car unless he was provoked or felt threatened. The reason he did this is that the police/ army dont live upto what their responsibilities are? The guns which the 2 dead guys were carrying were they licensed? Besides how come they were openly brandishing them while going on a motorbike? Especially in these times when its so easy to put people on gun point. Raymond did a brave thing. Atleast 2 lunatics are dead now.
    PS: ( pls in the name of free speech print this. I see you have become quite limited in what type of views you want)Recommend

  • AHR
    Feb 12, 2011 - 3:53PM


  • Ayesha
    Feb 14, 2011 - 7:30PM

    3 people murdered followed by one widow suiciding.. an issue i wont try my sarcasm on…

    not one of those who cant take a joke…but just a little insensitive towards those involved :(Recommend

  • wendeth khan
    Feb 14, 2011 - 7:48PM

    Hey, thanks for your answers to my question-and thanks for being appropriate. On a personal note, I don’t believe the evidence which I was aware of should have convicted Dr. Aafia in this country……however I haven’t read any transcripts from the trial or anything, just like with this case I only know what was played out in various media. I don’t believe she received a fair trial, on the other hand, she is an American Citizen and therefore I’m not opposed to her being brought back to the States if her supposed crimes were committed against the States.

    Also, has anyone seen the video from the questioning of the gori suspect? It just adds fuel to the fire of the accusations he was not indeed a diplomat. HE says he’s a contractor with ROA (or RAO, I’ve forgotten). Anyway, the video shows he (and sadly) the Lahore police being bumbling fools. If you’ve seen it you’ll understand what I mean. My favorite lines are “no funny, no money, no money, no water” and “just change your name to Diamond” (both supposed to be jokes by the cops). Goodness. Recommend

More in Opinion