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.He has the feeling, even more than in India, of having fulfilled his mission.He is bursting with joy.He exults.PART THREECRIME OF STATECHAPTER 1 MYSTERIES OF KARACHI19 September 2002.Second trip to Karachi.Once again, I use my old diplomatic passport to facilitate my entry into Pakistani territory.No stopping by the embassy.No grand hotel, where you’re instantly spotted.Instead, a little guest house on the road to the airport, right near the place where the cab was pulled over and I was forced to pay a bribe to the policeman during my first visit.And, in case of questions or trouble, a brand new story: Quite apart from my “novel” on Daniel Pearl, I’ve come looking for a printing press and paper supplies for the new Afghan newspaper Nouvelles de Kaboul, since those things are not available in Afghanistan.“Don’t kid yourself,” says Gul, my fixer from last spring who came to meet me in the lobby of the guest house, a small, smoke-filled room with cushions lining the walls, samovars of tea with milk on the center table, and the stuffed head of an animal on the wall.“Don’t think they believe a word about your novel and, now, your paper for Afghanistan.They came to my place last June, after you left.They questioned my wife.Shut my kid in his room.Searched the whole house.They wanted to know what you did, what you were looking for, what I had told you, what you’d seen.They had me summoned by an old uléma at the other end of Rawalpindi, who gave me fair warning.You’ve got to be careful.They’re everywhere.”The “they” he is talking about is the dreaded ISI, the Interservices Intelligence Agency, the Pakistani secret service that, in principle, as in every country in the world, should be concerned with gathering foreign intelligence.But since the Bangladesh war and the nationalist uprising in Baluchistan under Bhutto, and since the Afghanistan war and the Shiite upsurge resulting from the Iranian revolution, the ISI is increasingly inclined to expand its activities.In internal matters, it has an increasing tendency to substitute itself for the Intelligence Bureau, suspected of separatist sympathies.But Gul does not say “ISI.” No one in Karachi ever says “ISI.” They just say “they,” or “the agencies,” or “the invisible government,” or even “the three letters,” just “the three letters.” Or even, when they can, they gesture with three raised fingers—as though the simple fact of saying those three cursed letters out loud was dangerous.“Don’t hold it against me,” he says, glancing nervously at the man behind the reception desk, a timid, toothless, little old man with a round face who cannot possibly hear us at this distance.“I can’t go on working for you under these conditions.It’s not just a question of their visits, you know….I had weird phone calls, incessantly, after you left, which, given the circumstances, is perhaps even more worrisome than all the rest.Here in Pakistan, when you get a call on your mobile phone, the caller is always identified.Except.”The man from the reception desk walks over to us.He pretends to be arranging the cushions and asks us, in broken English, if we need anything.All of a sudden, Gul looks scared.His nostrils start to tremble, as if he were going to cry.What a new, strange way of talking to me without making eye contact! And now, while I answer the man from the reception desk, he stares at me, but surreptitiously, in fleeting, panicky glances.Clearly, something must have happened.This is not the same Gul I saw in the spring, cheerful and daring, casual and confident, ready to try anything, asking me about Reporters Without Borders, ready to be their correspondent if they asked him, making fun of paranoid journalists who saw bin Laden sneaking around every corner in Islamabad.The man from the reception desk returns to his post, and Gul continues.“.Except when it’s people from the army or the services.I got several calls this morning, and there was never anyone on the other end of the line, just breathing.And the number wasn’t on the screen.That’s why we must part ways.It’s better for me.But I think it will be better for you, too.Would you like me to find someone to replace me? I’ve got an idea.His name is Asif.You’ll see, he’s a good man.”I’m thinking that Asif was the name of Daniel Pearl’s fixer, and for some reason, that bothers me [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]