Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s plan to highlight cross-border terrorism with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari in Afghanistan will have to wait.
The two heads of state were in Kabul for the inauguration of Hamid Karzai’s second term. A senior level diplomat from Singh’s contingent said, “The Prime Minister did manage to get Zardari alone near the bar at the dinner party. After exchanging pleasantries, he was about to discuss new intelligence showing no let-up in jehadis entering Kashmir when Zardari asked, ‘What's the only thing visible in Pakistan during power cuts at night?’”
When Singh replied that he did not know, Zardari reportedly said, ‘my teeth’ and laughed uproariously. The source added that before Singh could say anything, Zardari emptied his glass and said, ‘The post office recently released a stamp with my face to mark my presidency and now people don't know which side of the stamp to spit on.’
“What do you think of that? Funny, isn’t it.”
The Prime Minister nodded in agreement and quickly told Zardari about the ISI not cooperating with the 26/11 investigations. The diplomat recounted: “But Zardari ignored it and said, ‘A Pakistani was once standing in a long line for food when he walks out saying that he is going to shoot me. He returns after a few hours and rejoins the line. Did you manage to kill him?, everyone asks him. No, he replies, that line is longer than this one. Ha ha ha. Shoot me…bigger line…you got it, didn’t you?’ By then all of us realised that Zardari had staged a diplomatic coup. You could see the Prime Minister’s beard twitch with disappointment.”
A foreign ministry spokesperson confirmed the incident. “Frankly we still don’t know what to do when they meet at the sidelines of NAM in March. We did ask the Prime Minister to memorise some Sardarji jokes, but he doesn’t seem to like the idea,” he said.