By Maniza Naqvi
We're trying to get the biggest bang for their buck–or rather biggest buck for their bang. Or you can say we're helping them pass the buck? Yes-yes–true–I'm a bit of a smart alec– at Boarding School everyone thought I had the comic's gift. I would agree. Wouldn't you? Doesn't matter what you think as long as the money keeps rolling in.
But seriously, do you think that just before he slits my throat he'll think of this: How I compared his mother to fifteen goats? Is that what you're asking me? Come off it–my friend—- he's going to be angry yes—He's going to wonder why I didn't compare his beloved Ma to fifteen cows—cows fetch 20,000 rupees apiece. Livestock. So get your facts straight—its cows not goats. Each person in these parts who is killed by a drone attack is equivalent to the rupee price of 15 cows. Converted into dollars? At today's rates?—$194—that's about 38 chai lattes or thereabouts at your nearest café in Washington DC——You see if a civilian is killed we pay three hundred thousand rupees. If a cow is killed we pay 20,000 rupees. My wife's outfit yesterday—the one you liked so much—the one you want made for yourself—well that cost me 450,000 rupees—yes—four lakhs. So you see, at 300,000 rupees it's a bargain. And we keep the costs down. We have a budget, a set quota for 2000 civilian deaths. Anything —or rather any more bodies– over this allocated amount, we just categorize them as militants. That way we don't have to pay. You see? Nice huh? Just an accountant's little trick of the trade. But my God! What a headache to get the numbers right on this. Hours—days of negotiations man—We finally gave them a list—how much for what they target—destroy—working age man, woman, pregnant woman, elderly man or woman, child, girl child, boy child, fetus, baby, goat, chicken, cow—concrete house, mud house, number of rooms, vehicle, what kind of vehicle—farm tools—and so on and on. It's a long list. We perfected the system—this cash transfers system—after the big Earthquake. Gave out money for the dead.
And you have no idea what a headache it is—on the other side of this—–these—our people are such cheaters, such brigands such liars….they will inflate their quotas of dead you see—no willingness to stay within the prescribe quotos—no principles at all—no integrity—they'll tell us that so many children have been killed—or so many women—we have no way of verifying how many women were inside those damn mud huts and so we have to rely on their word. Their word!!!! Makes you want emancipation doesn't it? These bloody losers keep them locked up—-we can't even get an honest head count. And after a house is blown up how are we supposed to know how many were in there, right! No sense of setting down a principle based on science or math–just emotions! I tell you literacy my friend is important! Number one priority once we are in the clear.
So where was I? Yes if a civilian is killed we pay 300,000 rupees. It used to be 500,000 rupees. But we simply don't have the funds. We keep asking the Americans to pay but they say they are not made out of money—aren't the weapons–the bombs enough?
If a civil servant is killed—well then that fetches in millions— 3 million rupees for grade 16 officer its 4 million rupees for grade 17 officer 5 million rupees and so forth, it is 10 million rupees for grade 20-22.
If a big animal is killed its 20,000 rupees. If a van, or a car is destroyed its 200,000 to 300, 000 rupees or more.
It's very detailed you know it's all written out—regulations, processes and procedures. The Civil Service is superlative in details. A national treasure—the civil service. Thanks to the British…And the railways. The British were marvelous you see—so methodical. Everything under rules and regulations. Not like today, anything and everything goes. That's the difference between Empire—Imperialism—Order backed by divine right—-and— THIS—this—-not sure what to name this yet. Jury's out on a name for it.
But enough of this boring talk about cash tranfers—come see the new digs yaar—-I've been doing well! We've built a Farmhouse–the works–olympic size pool, citrus orchards, stables—you name it- –it will make you drool. I can't understand why anyone would ever want to leave their own country when its a gold mine!