Plane to Pakistan

My father fled Lahore as a child. I returned with him to find Indo-Pak rapprochement in full swing. But Pakistan's internal politics is fragile, and the country plays a dual role in the war on terror
September 24, 2005

History's most tragic events often find their eternal voice in fiction. Khushwant Singh's Train to Pakistan quickly became the definitive novel of India's 1947 partition, during which rioting and communal violence led to the deaths of at least half a million people. Singh's story portrays life in the sleepy Indian border village of Mano Majra, a multi-religious microcosm of the subcontinent. Until partition, villagers used to set their clocks by the arrival of the morning Delhi to Lahore train and its evening return. But when trainloads of mutilated corpses started to pass through in both directions, they began to grasp the magnitude of the upheaval. Razor-sharp ropes were strung up spanning the rail bridge, intended to slice in half passengers crammed on to the train's roof. In the final pages, a lone hero scales the scaffolding and cuts the rope before being shot dead. The train carries on to Pakistan, while under the bridge thousands of corpses float towards India.

Almost 60 years ago, my father's family—wealthy Hindu bankers and merchants from Lahore—fled by train, carrying little. They resettled in Calcutta in the new Indian state. Like Khushwant Singh, they had expected to remain in Lahore their whole lives, but instead had to contend with the clashing memories of violent displacement alongside happy recollections of close friends left behind. And, as with many of today's dwindling number of partition survivors, these memories are no longer sufficient. At last October's Diwali celebration, my father said, "Before I die, I want to see where I was born once more." So began a trip which would take us not only to Pakistan, but also into the evolving heart of Indo-Pakistani relations.

Since partition, Pakistan's population has swelled from 50m to 160m, in a space about twice the size of California. West of the Indus river, bordering Afghanistan, lie Balochistan and the North-West Frontier Province—barren, tribal, sparse. East of the Indus, bordering India, lie Pakistan's two other provinces: the fertile but densely populated and increasingly urban Sindh and Punjab.

Pakistan was created to be a more or less exclusively Muslim nation (and is now roughly 75 per cent Sunni and 20 per cent Shia). Partition is said to have been driven by Muslims who felt that they would be second-class citizens in India, lower even than "untouchables." Some Muslims now regret partition because their combined numbers would constitute a far more significant Islamic bloc on the Indian subcontinent today. But most subscribe to the "two-nation theory" articulated by Pakistan's founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Jinnah imagined a secular, liberal Pakistan. Indeed, Pakistan's first law minister was a Hindu and its first foreign minister belonged to the Ahmadi sect. But tolerance did not last. Jinnah, a Shia, was soon being accused by Sunnis of being a kafir (infidel), and in 1974 an amendment to Pakistan's constitution declared the Ahmadis non-Muslims. Both India and Pakistan have consistently been hostage to their fundamentalist alter egos. In 2002, anti-Muslim rioting in India's Gujarat state left thousands dead, challenging India's secular identity. And in Pakistan, decades of Shia-Sunni rivalry, fuelled respectively by Iranian and Saudi Arabian funding, has led to suicide bombings at rival mosques and violent public riots.

All of Pakistan's leaders since Jinnah have played on Islamic sentiment, to varying degrees, as a means of cementing the country's identity. And in less than 60 years, Pakistan has experimented with almost all forms of government. Soon after the 1956 constitution declared Pakistan an Islamic republic, General Ayub Khan adopted a non-parliamentary constitutionalism. In the 1970s, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's regime was guided by an "Islamic socialism" which tried to co-opt a growing Islamist movement that saw the splintering off of Bangladesh in 1971 as a moral failure. Another coup in 1977 brought the military dictatorship of General Zia ul-Haq, who executed Bhutto and fostered Islamic radicalisation. After Zia's plane was blown out of the sky in 1988, the way was clear for a return to democracy of a kind in the 1990s. Then followed what Mahnaz Ispahani has described as the "winner takes all" governments of Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's party (PPP), founded by her father in 1967, and Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML), which grew out of the founding party, the Indian Muslim League. General Pervez Musharraf toppled Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999.

The Indian scholar Krishna Kumar points out in Prejudice and Pride, his comparison of Indian and Pakistani school textbooks, that the gulf between the two countries has grown as history and language have been manipulated. Urdu was Hindu-fied in India and Arabicised in Pakistan. Pakistan's Islamic identity is emphasised by portraying Jinnah in a shirvani instead of his preferred Savile Row suits, and the term "freedom movement" now refers to the Muslim struggle for Pakistan rather than colonial liberation.

The army has played a central role in Pakistan's three-front war since the country's birth: against India over Kashmir, against Afghanistan over its western border, and against the internal forces which are always threatening to fragment Pakistan. Parts of the army have remained strongly Islamist since the rule of Zia. These ties were cemented during the Afghan war. It is even claimed that officers can take a year off on half pay to fight jihad.

Since 9/11, international attention has focused on the ambiguous position of Pakistan as both a promoter of militant Islam and a frontline state in the "war on terror." The hunt for al Qaeda leaders continues along Pakistan's mountainous border with Afghanistan. And the fact that two of the four 7th July London bombers were British-Pakistanis who had visited the country, possibly spending time in its notorious madrassas, has rekindled anxieties about the country's propensity to export religious extremism.

The evening before I boarded the plane to Pakistan to join my parents on their emotional return journey, I sought out Khushwant Singh, now 90, in New Delhi. We agreed that much has changed for the better in Indo-Pakistani relations. Indeed, the effects of global economic integration, a passing generation's last chance for reconciliation and the rise of a new crop of leaders are pushing India and Pakistan towards a lasting settlement—a necessary, though not sufficient, condition for sorting out Pakistan's internal problems.

Despite Pakistan's successful testing of a nuclear weapon in 1998, the 1999 Kargil war over Kashmir and an escalation of that conflict in 2002, Indo-Pak relations have since been on a steady upswing. Indian cricketers with thousands of supporters were warmly received in Pakistan in March 2004. India returned the favour in April 2005. Musharraf, who watched Pakistan clinch the series, issued a statement with the new Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, declaring peace "irreversible."

Pakistanis are coming in large numbers to visit the Mughal monuments of Delhi and Agra and historically Muslim cities such as Lucknow. Indians are also crossing the border, with Punjabis flocking to Lahore and Sindhis to Karachi. A "heritage revival link" connecting Lahore, Amritsar and Delhi is run by private tour operators from both countries. The bustling activity along this northern corridor is central to Indo-Pak reconciliation and is reviving old Punjabi sentiments.

The reconciliation has even spread to Kashmir. In April, a bus service began connecting the Kashmiri capitals of Srinagar (on the Indian side of the line of control) and Muzaffarabad (on the Pakistani side). Despite violence before the first journey, a foreign ministry spokesman in India described it as "the mother of all confidence-building measures."

Before leaving the newly created Pakistan, Hindus were stripped of their property. Pakistani magistrates became millionaires overnight (as did their counterparts in India). In Lahore's Anarkali district, most shops were Hindu-owned before partition, and Muslims were discriminated against. It was there that we sought the former home of my great-grandfather, a merchant banker, and my grandfather, who ran the family grain distribution store in the last days of the British Raj.

Following a map drawn by my great-uncle in Delhi, we wandered through Anarkali's sprawling bazaar: past the bamboo market, left before the King Edward medical college, along an alleyway leading to a white mosque. An elderly tailor stopped to help, even asking our name to cross-reference with pre-partition memories. Eventually, an old tree gave it away. "That's the house," my father beamed. He was barely five years old when they fled the three-storey home—now a shirt factory.

While the high diplomacy of Indo-Pak relations moves cautiously on trade, border negotiations, transport links and energy supplies, expectations at the grassroots level are surging, reinforced by Bollywood's re-education machine. Bollywood's many Muslim stars now reject roles which indulge in Pakistan-bashing. In Main Hoon Na ("I am Here") last year, Shahrukh Khan, India's Tom Cruise, starred as an Indian army officer fighting militants from his own country who are attempting to derail peace moves with Pakistan. Another film which has had a big political impact is Veer-Zaara, directed by Yash Chopra, himself of a partition family. The most popular film since the Oscar-nominated Lagaan, Veer-Zaara is partly about an older generation of men and women, like my father, seeking its last chance to experience lost homes.

In the wider worlds of art and fashion, the rapprochement theme is now ubiquitous. At a recent exhibition in Bombay, a painting titled "Line of Control" depicts the border dividing Kashmir as the seam between two fastened lovers. And Mohsin Hamid's Moth Smoke, capturing the ambitions and dysfunctionality of restless, decadent youth from Islamabad to Bombay, has become the first Pakistani novel to sell well across India. Set in the time of the nuclear tests, it chronicles the lives of various fast-living characters who would happily trade all their country's nuclear weapons for an unlimited supply of high-grade marijuana.

This culture of reconciliation is most advanced among the elites. But postcolonial societies like India and Pakistan are still far too young to have outgrown nationalism. It is most visibly on display at the Wagah border, with its famous synchronous goose-stepping ceremonies on both sides of the border. My parents and I had hoped to cross on foot to the Indian side and return before the daily show began in the amphitheatre on the Pakistani side, but were barred as we had only single-entry visas for Pakistan. On the Pakistani side, where the stands were gender-segregated, an old, bearded prankster draped in Pakistan's flag taunted the Indians just across the border as loudspeakers played synthesised nationalist hymns. A man climbed the rafters and led the crowd in chants of "Allah… Akbar!" "Pakistan… Zindabad!" and, more unexpectedly, "Superpower… Allah!"

And for all the talk of reconciliation, neither India nor Pakistan is happy with its status as one of America's two new best friends. President Bush has built a close rapport with Musharraf, and has angered both India and his own critics by treading lightly in the case of Abdul Qadeer Khan—the "father" of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, who secretly operated a "nuclear eBay," selling weapons material to countries from Libya to North Korea. Khan was pardoned, and remains a national hero. After Condoleezza Rice's visit to Pakistan in March, a green light was given to permit the sale of American F-16 fighters to Pakistan. Where the Reagan administration overlooked General Zia's destruction of political opposition in the name of anti-communism, the Bush administration does so in the name of the war on terror.

At freddy's restaurant in Lahore, I dined with several up-and-coming officials from the Punjab provincial assembly and cabinet. The ambitious scions of Pakistan's establishment are climbing the political ladder, only to bump up against the ceiling of military rule. "In Pakistan, no one cares about Bin Laden," claimed Sughra Imam, a cabinet member for the populous district of Jang. If he died or was captured, there may be more sporadic violence, suggested Imam, but it wouldn't have any real impact. Colonel Shuja Khanzada, a hazel-eyed Pathan serving as Punjab's minister for inspection and implementation, believes that Musharraf is the most democratic leader in the country's history, but that the "army must go back into the barracks." Despite Musharraf's anti-corruption drive, most people I spoke to agreed that the state is no more transparent than when it was run by Benazir Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif and their cliques.

Musharraf's prevarication in returning Pakistan to democracy is alienating even some of his old allies. I met the former cricketer and national hero Imran Khan, who until recently had allied his party with Musharraf's regime, but then realised that "he is like all the other dictators: he admires himself too much, and institutions and laws too little." Musharraf has pledged to hold parliamentary elections in 2007—after which the new parliament will elect the president—but last year backtracked from a promise to resign as army chief. Meanwhile, Imran has taken his business elsewhere, talking to Qazi Hussain Ahmed of the Islamist umbrella party Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and more recently Benazir Bhutto's PPP.

The vehemently anti-Musharraf Islamist parties—particularly the MMA coalition—are expected to do well in the current local elections, particularly in Karachi. The MMA's largest member, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), and its most coherent party, Jamaat-i-Islaami (JI), demonstrate street power by mobilising their network of mosques and student groups for causes ranging from the pro-Pakistan Kashmiri militant group Hizb-ul-Mujahideen to anti-American rallies. In the North-West Frontier Province, the coalition has dislodged establishment parties such as the PPP, and now rons the local government. It has also doubled its representation in the national assembly, from rural and urban areas alike. Pakistan's central government has never been able to assert itself fully on the periphery, from where the MMA reaches inward and claims nearly 15 per cent of the national vote—though establishment parties of various kinds still attract a comfortable majority.

JI runs a slick think tank in Islamabad, the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), founded by Khurshid Ahmad, a scholar who can deliver speeches on globalisation as polished as any LSE professor, citing Adam Smith, Voltaire and Weber—but with an Islamist twist. Khalid Rahman of the IPS says that although the fallout from 9/11 saw Pakistan receive huge inflows of US aid, "national reconciliation" suffered. The country became divided: Musharraf switched from calling Kashmir a freedom fight to declaring that "terrorism will not be tolerated." And in refusing to step down as army chief last year, he reneged on the promise which originally placated the MMA.

Musharraf often claims—and western diplomats too willingly believe—that were it not for the army, Islamist mobs would Talebanise the country. Having spent some of his early years in Turkey, Musharraf sees himself as Pakistan's Atatürk, with a vision of "enlightened moderation." Islamist parties accuse him of destroying the Islamic identity of Pakistan, but have been unable to find a broad constituency to oppose him. Always influential in Pakistani civil society, it is only recently that Islamist parties have made inroads in national politics.

Educational reform is considered a vital strategy in confronting fundamentalism but is opposed by feudal lords. Islamic clerics, too, have staunchly resisted reform of madrassas. Estimates of the number of students enrolled in these doctrinaire religious schools range from 200,000 to over 1m. Now that Britain has experienced suicide bombings, allegedly by madrassa alumni, calls to shut down or reform them have become louder. Musharraf's recent pledge to eject all foreign students from Pakistan's madrassas is a partial response to this. But according to a recent World Bank study, this alleged terrorist recruitment pool is not as deep as many people fear. Indeed, focusing on this sliver of Pakistan's education system ignores the failures of the public system, which, according to Pakistan's own Sustainable Development Policy Institute, is the real purveyor of extremism.

Many argue that India, as in the Hindu epics, should now play the part of the bigger brother—by making concessions such as withdrawing substantial army units from Kashmir—in order to provide Musharraf with an opportunity to exit gracefully as a military ruler. Abida Hussain, a former Pakistani ambassador to the US, joked to me that the two sides should trade leaders, with each getting their native-born. "Give us the gentleman from Jhelum in Pakistan [Manmohan Singh], and India can have the man from Agra in India [Musharraf]. It's only fair: as the smaller party we should get the one with the bigger brains." She was echoing a popular sentiment from the 1970s: my grandmother often remarked that all Indo-Pak problems would be solved if Rajiv Gandhi married the exquisite young Benazir, who became India's media darling overnight while accompanying her father to sign the Simla accord with Indira Gandhi in 1972.

But as Ejaz Haider, foreign editor of the Daily Times, lamented to my father and me at Lahore's regal Gymkhana Club: "Reconciliation within Pakistan is likely to be more difficult than reconciliation with India." Journalist Khalid Ahmed agreed, "Pakistan is experiencing not a crisis of democracy, but a crisis of the state." The country's leading parties and actors have yet to devise a system to satisfy all potential spoilers, including the army and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence agency). A return to Pakistan's winner-takes-all democracy could be worse than the current semi-liberal military regime.

Under Musharraf, the army has thoroughly infiltrated Pakistani society. More than all previous military rulers, Musharraf has made the military the guardian of both external and internal order, reducing the need to use the India threat as a justification for its control. The military's foundations and private sector ventures have placed retired generals at the helm of sugar mills, refineries and other key economic posts. In the two years after his seizure of power, Musharraf placed more than 1,000 military personnel in posts previously held by civilians. Yet precisely because his control is unchallenged, he has also allowed, even encouraged, a cultural liberalisation. The proliferation of private television channels, largely free radio stations and artistic expression serves as a check on the orthodoxies of the Islamist parties. But these new freedoms only extend so far. In May, one of Pakistan's most famous human rights activists, Asma Jehangir, was publicly beaten and then imprisoned during a symbolic mixed-gender marathon race to promote civil liberties.

Civilian politicians, meanwhile, are having trouble being heard. The two largest parties of the 1990s—the PML and the PPP—are still chaired and directed by Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto respectively, through both former prime ministers are in exile in the Gulf. The two parties originally came to a power-sharing agreement because the urban Muslim League needed to ally with feudal landowners, still the backbone of the PPP, to build a national base. Today, the two are united under the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy, for which Benazir's husband, Asif Zardari, has been campaigning since being released from an eight-year prison term. (He too has subsequently been forced to leave the country.)

When I met Benazir, outside Pakistan, she was hopeful that her husband's release would mark a turning point. She added, "I would like to return to Pakistan today, but it has been made very clear to me that I am not welcome back." Bhutto has served two terms as prime minister, and so the only job left for her is president. This means that reconciliation with the PPP is palatable to Musharraf only if she is excluded. Although Musharraf has thrown together a coalition of federal and provincial parties to support him—including the PML-Q (a faction of Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League created by the army), and MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement) in Sindh, made up of mohajirs (those who came to Pakistan from India at partition) such as himself—he is right to worry. If a popularity contest-cum-election were held in Pakistan today, Bhutto would win hands down.

Since passing the Legal Framework Order (LFO) in late 2003, Musharraf has possessed unparalleled power; checks and balances are non-existent. He could change this at a stroke by relieving himself of the right to dissolve the parliament. But for now, he sees no need for such gestures. He enjoys an excellent relationship with his chosen prime minister Shaukat Aziz—the first time such cordial relations have existed between these postholders in Pakistan's history. Aziz is a former Citigroup executive who demands that all officials coming to meet him wear western business suits. When Musharraf first appointed him finance minister in 1999, little talent was able to grow in his shadow. Now, key decision-making roles have been delegated to diaspora Pakistanis from Wall Street or international organisations who view the Musharraf-Aziz team positively. Since the last period of democracy brought the country from borderline middle-income status to the brink of bankruptcy, they are untroubled by democracy's absence.

Musharraf and Aziz continue Pakistan's tradition of smooth-talking leadership that impresses audiences in New York or Davos. But they cannot talk their country out of poverty. For that, they need more people like 33-year-old Zia Chishti, head of the Resource group and a native of Lahore, with a Stanford MBA. When Chishti first tried to set up a company in Pakistan in 1997, the national board of investment could not understand how he could create jobs without selling anything in Pakistan. Chishti has subsequently built the country's largest outsourcing operation, buying up medium-sized US firms and salvaging profitability by offshoring the labour. His call centre staff, mainly young, have to live nocturnally. But the 25-30,000 rupees they earn a month pushes them into the middle class of cars, mobile phones and educational opportunities. Chishti is untying what he calls the "Gordian knot of a rent-seeking bureaucracy." Musharraf has asked him to help with reform of everything from education to telecommunications.

Will Aziz push Pakistan in the direction of political liberalisation? Though he is no statesman, Aziz could take a cue from business leaders in India, such as Narayan Murthy of Infosys, Azim Premji of Wipro and Mukesh Ambani of Reliance. When India and Pakistan amassed troops at their border in early 2002 following a terrorist attack on India's parliament, the US state department slapped a travel advisory on India, hurting its risk profile and upsetting its top businessmen. The big three business leaders called the prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and demanded that he cool the situation down. Businessmen tell this story fondly all across south Asia.

Since 1970, when there was virtually no trade between India and Pakistan, commercial exchange has grown steadily. Though Pakistan's steel industry is 20 years behind India's, the construction boom in Pakistan means that its steel producers could still survive being flooded with Indian goods. Additionally, Nasscom, India's IT consortium, travelled to Pakistan last December to explore its potential as a market for Bangalore's software exports. In return, Pakistan can offer energy—India could overcome its chronic electricity shortages through Pakistan's surplus. Indeed, energy and water—not territory—is what both sides need most. With both countries heavily dependent on oil imports, they are also moving cautiously towards a natural gas pipeline linking Iran to India. Condoleezza Rice recently hinted that the US might look the other way rather than impose sanctions on such co-operation, despite Iranian involvement. There is thus some hope that economics may trump politics in this turbulent region.

It is too late—despite the hopes of Singh's villagers in Train to Pakistan—for life in south Asia to revert to one people in one country. But the increasing opportunities in trade and cultural exchange are allowing both countries to soften their borders without losing their cherished sense of nationhood.

When indian writers and politicians cross the border chanting "We are one people," it is often viewed not as goodwill but rather as a negation of Pakistan's national identity. The Urdu press—to which the English-language media widely condescends—reflects the broader public view of passive resistance to such overtures. "India must accept a Muslim Pakistan; talk of reintegration is futile and naive," Fateh Mohammed Malik, chairman of the National Language Authority, told me and my father, as we shivered in front of a heater-fan on Christmas day in Islamabad. "India and Pakistan should first become good neighbours, then they can undertake joint ventures." The guiding model should not be the reunified East and West Germany, but rather the friendship model of France and Germany.

Pakistan is now struggling to enter what I call the second world, struggling with the problems of unequal development and sectarianism, rather than the bigger problems of insecure borders and chronic instability. Over 70 per cent of state spending is directed from the centre. A lack of resources for development on the fringes has fuelled the separatism that has haunted Pakistan since its 1971 split. Many fear a resurgent Pashtun movement, supported increasingly by Chechen and Saudi fighters, or Balochi separatism, which has come under the spotlight after numerous attacks on the military.

Islamabad's magnificent government offices along Constitution Avenue exude an aura of smug, sovereign control. Corruption has led to billions of dollars in unabsorbed US and UN aid to Afghanistan being siphoned off to Pakistan's real estate market, fuelling Islamabad's housing boom. I visited the city when key decisions were being made on the issue most significant to Pakistan's shift towards the second world: political devolution. Knowing that the traditional power-authority nexus—in which provincial chiefs govern like Mughal princes—has failed to modernise the country, Musharraf has made the "silent revolution" of devolution his pet project.

The man charged with reordering the relationship between citizen and state is Daniyal Aziz, who runs the National Reconstruction Bureau. In the garden of one of Islamabad's chic Italian restaurants, the US-educated Aziz described how he hoped to end Pakistan's political culture of patronage. What took centuries in the west must happen within a generation: "The political class has to relate itself to institutions, rather than be the institutions." In the feudal network of elite reciprocity, the family remains the central unit, with one patriarch as the principal landowner, a son in one party, another sibling in another party, a cousin in the army, and relatives well placed in local, provincial and national parliaments. Even when voted out of office, Pakistan's feudal elite is always at work, courting constituents and reshuffling its political cards.

The real battle in Pakistan is therefore fought not so much between extremists and moderates but between reformists and anti-reformists. In the devolution process, extremists are essentially on the sidelines, but they will be there to harvest the pieces if Pakistan implodes due to the failure of the reformers.

The entrenched provincial establishment is fighting a tough rearguard action against devolution. Yet too much devolution could also be a bad thing. Musharraf wants Pakistan to become like Turkey, but many accuse him of creating another Indonesia. Indirect elections by local councillors could result in the same feudal elite being reinstalled in a more decentralised system. Bhutto and Musharraf agree in principle on many of the steps required in Pakistan's modernisation. Both want the state to impose itself in rural areas and replace folk law and feudal oligarchy. But neither Bhutto's 1993 devolution plan nor Musharraf's new one seem able to stop the leakage of so much public money to corruption.

Pakistan is engaged in a struggle which pits long-term institutional restructuring against short-term partisan or bureaucratic expediency and corruption. The problem is that all parties—the army, politicians and feudals—appear to be on both sides at once.

In pakistan's three-front war, there is tentative progress on reconciling the Afghan and Indian fronts, but still great uncertainty in domestic affairs. Islamism remains a powerful force: Pakistan's ISI has found it hard to sever the channels of support it provided the Taleban after 9/11. And there was a big shock in May last year, when Musharraf admitted that army officers were behind the attempt on his life in 2003. After secret military trials, some of the would-be assassins were sentenced to death.

There remain numerous plausible scenarios for Pakistan. All the negative ones involve Islamist resurgence and continued alienation of the political mainstream; all the positive ones involve peace with India. For every confidence-building measure such as missile test notification or bus service resumption, there are militant attacks and gun battles in Kashmir. India not only has to resist holding the former hostage to the latter, but must continue to legitimise an illegitimate military ruler through peace negotiations. To wait for whatever—or whoever—comes next might mean missing the last best chance to help Pakistan make peace with itself.

Like any other two neighbours, India and Pakistan can and should help each other to develop and prosper. But, as my father remarked at a party in Lahore, in both countries money still trumps power, with justice as the victim. A more personal sort of justice was on his mind the night before he and my mother left Lahore. As we drove through the wealthy Shadman district, we saw a large stone house under construction. "I hope they're building that for us," he smiled.