A shark of a tale

Published: February 8, 2012

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The ISI killed the shark. Or at least that’s the theory I am considering.

A few days ago, a whale shark over 40 feet in length turned up dead in the waters near the Balochistan coast. The product of over 60 million years of evolution died as soon as it came close to the country, its immense corpse floating for 10 days before cranes large enough to lift the carcass could be employed to do just that. The body was instantly purchased for Rs200,000, presumably by a Lawn designer hoping to sell it off to confused Aunties as pre-shrunk evening wear. The Supreme Court has yet to issue a suo motu notice demanding an investigation into the cause of death, but we are still free to speculate. There are, after all, many reasons why it could have been killed. And many killers who could have wanted to kill it.

Given that it was found in the ocean, there is a distinct possibility that the poor beast was killed by America’s Seal Team 6. This is a group of trained killers who have disposed of at least one other high profile target by dumping the body into the murky depths. Perhaps the whale shark was a high profile member of al Qaeda and they did what they did so as to prevent people from making a shrine out of its grave. Indeed, it could be that the shark was Mullah Omar, a theory made all the more plausible by the fact that he has never been photographed. However, given how President Obama recently gave a State of the Union address and forensics have established the shark’s death as over 10 days ago, he would definitely have mentioned such a major event had it occurred under his orders. He needs the ratings.

Maybe the gentle plankton feeder was an Ahmadi. Or a Shia. Or a Hazara. Or a Christian. Or just someone, anyone, who doesn’t subscribe to the vehemently intolerant and utterly flawed interpretation of Islam practiced by members of the Difa-e-Pakistan. In a country where we have legalised bigotry against one religious minority and through negligence are fast legitimising the persecution of all others, it isn’t hard to believe that the shark was killed simply for what it did or did not believe in. The utter silence of the government on the circumstances surrounding its death seem to confirm this, however, final confirmation cannot be had until the shark is buried. If it is then dug up and it’s grave desecrated, then we can know for sure.

Perhaps it was killed by the intelligence agencies. This could have happened because the shark had uncovered some truth about links between the armed forces and terrorist organisations and they needed to send a message to other marine life. Or it could have happened because the shark just happened to be a native of the province of Balochistan and that was enough to mark it as a viable victim. Either way, if the shark had gone missing prior to its death and then everyone in the media and the government ignored its subsequent passing, then we have definitely found our killers. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do with that knowledge.

Finally, the shark could simply have committed suicide, purposefully drinking the water filled with sewage, diesel and used condoms in a tragic attempt at escaping the rising cost of living. It isn’t easy for a shark in these waters to make ends meet with the government constantly increasing the cost of plankton and krill. Maybe the shark committed blasphemy? If a shark commits blasphemy and no one is there to hear it, should we kill it anyway?

So how did the shark die? We may never know. And even if we did, we wouldn’t do a thing about it.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2012.


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Reader Comments (29)

  • John B
    Feb 8, 2012 - 11:32PM

    ” The product of over 60 million years of evolution died as soon as it came close to the country”-Could not contain my laughter.


  • Parvez
    Feb 8, 2012 - 11:35PM

    Brilliant especially the ending.
    On the lighter side, how did you miss out on connecting the great Veena M to the shark ?


  • faraz
    Feb 8, 2012 - 11:35PM

    I think the Shark was a KGB agent. Russians don’t want Central Asian oil to flow south through Afghanistan and Pakistan. They stuffed the shark with TNT, and it was meant to blow up the Gawadar port but it died of intoxication. Or perhaps ISI assassinated it but didn’t take credit as Hina Khar is in Russia.


  • Shakky
    Feb 8, 2012 - 11:38PM

    Very nice article :-)


  • ayesha khan
    Feb 8, 2012 - 11:41PM

    Even through your humor, your deep pain at the state the country has found itself in, is very evident. Do keep writing, the tide will eventually turn.


  • MS-Mariya Suhail
    Feb 9, 2012 - 12:01AM

    the article and my country current state is indeed funny!


  • Raheel
    Feb 9, 2012 - 12:18AM

    So it was a Pakistan’s political,social,situational,religious sectarian Fiction..I really enjoy to read it..Beautiful intelligent write up..!!


  • Q
    Feb 9, 2012 - 12:26AM
  • Feb 9, 2012 - 3:32AM

    Great write up. A decent way to connect a general interest story, like the discovery of this dead Whale Shark, to all the problems of our dear old country.


  • Feb 9, 2012 - 5:21AM

    The shark was calling for repeal of the Blasphemy Law. It was killed to defend Islam. Evidence of this can be found in the crowds assembled for the spectacle when its carcass brought to Karachi and the absence of any clerics leading its funeral prayers.


  • Arifq
    Feb 9, 2012 - 7:41AM

    Humor is a powerful and effective tool, thanks Sami


  • Feb 9, 2012 - 7:50AM

    Ahhhhh… this one just didn’t do it for me. Kinda lame…


  • Asad
    Feb 9, 2012 - 8:24AM

    Only Rehman Mailk knows who is behind the killing and will reveal the truth soon.


  • Mirza
    Feb 9, 2012 - 9:58AM

    Great Op Ed realted to the domestic problems and not related to the local US election politics.


  • asad
    Feb 9, 2012 - 11:12AM

    beautiful beautiful beautiful

    ahmadi shia hazara persecution bit was extremely sad. yet true

    what has become to humans in this part of the world. is this what our prophets, dieties, messiahs and forefathers envisaged for their future generations.

    touched a nerve.


  • saleha
    Feb 9, 2012 - 11:46AM

    Sharks don’t feed on plankton. Whales do. This one had gills so wasn’t a whale … definitely a shark. Rest of the analysis sounds quite plausible:-)


  • Moghees Khan
    Feb 9, 2012 - 12:48PM

    Great Article. @saleha its called a Whale Shark.


  • Sami Shah
    Feb 9, 2012 - 1:07PM

    @Saleha This was a “Whale Shark” which is a breed of Shark that specifically feeds on plankton and krill. Nor is it the only shark to do so. The Basking Shark and Mega Mouth Shark also feed on Plankton.

    I may not know many things, but I know my sharks. Recommend

  • Feb 9, 2012 - 1:54PM

    Such a great wake up call for laughter in ET. After all the cases and crises reading, it just bloomed my face, at least. I laughed, and the biggest laughter of the year 2012. :D I laughed most on the Mullah Umar part, that was more than awesome.


  • sars
    Feb 9, 2012 - 2:06PM

    Maybe it was a patriotic Pakistani and died of shame at who we have become?


  • Babbar
    Feb 9, 2012 - 4:02PM

    I think you forgot to factor in the OBL factor in the death :)


  • Pak Tester
    Feb 9, 2012 - 4:48PM

    Great Great Great piece of writing. Also @all commenter please stop fighting over shark food…its a satire please enjoy.


  • Abdul-Razak Edhy
    Feb 9, 2012 - 5:57PM

    A satire covering the current mind set of the Nation. Shall we thank the Whale Shark or the author Sami Shah. Please every one read the article and cast your vote, bogus voters are of course equally welcome.


  • Cynical
    Feb 9, 2012 - 7:55PM

    A sad commentary covering every aspect of life in present day Pakistan.
    But the satire has brought out a few loughter to the readers is no small consolation.


  • saleha
    Feb 9, 2012 - 8:16PM

    @Mughees, I knew that:-) That is why I made the above comment (in good humour). Its only a marine Bio fact & doesn’t hurt the purpose of this article. So why turn it into a conversation? Not worth it.


  • Fawzia Zehra Kara-Isitt
    Feb 9, 2012 - 10:17PM

    Hey Sami. You always make me smile and yet touch my heart with sadness that my beloved country is, all at the same time, how do you do it?! Well written as always, the connection between the dear departed Whale Shark and Hina Khars new handbag material ?


  • Harleynut
    Feb 10, 2012 - 9:18PM

    Whale Sharks are harmless to man. They feed on plankton and small crustaceans. I find it a Tragedy that this bizarre culture wasted this beautiful Animal spirit. A Country with Nuclear Weapons that has no respect for Life, even their own people?


  • Faust
    Feb 11, 2012 - 2:33AM

    It was a Mossad Shark, everyone knows they’re out there swimming around with their Zionest fins.

    Just ask the Egyptians

    link text


  • Shibil
    Feb 15, 2012 - 9:32AM

    A whale shark does too eat plankton (my 3 year old loves watching Diego…). Which means this article is absolutely perfect. Funniest thing I’ve read in possibly ever.


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