Dawood Ibrahim | file photo
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Indians say Pakistanis have him, Pakistanis say they don’t. This has been the most consistent aspect of India-Pakistan relationship for nearly two decades now. Dawood Ibrahim, India’s most-wanted terrorist, grabbed headlines this week as he became part of the ‘esteemed’ list of 88 terrorists proscribed by Pakistan. Many people, on both sides of the border, took it as Pakistan’s acceptance of Dawood being on its soil. But no, that wasn’t the case.

Several years and thousands of breaking news later, Indians think that Pakistanis know the don’s whereabouts, but the truth is that they only wonder: Dawood, tu hai ki nahin? In the eyes of an average Indian, a common Pakistani knows what Dawood eats in breakfast, lunch and dinner, what he binge-watches or where he goes for shopping. But no. Pakistani people don’t know what Dawood Ibrahim eats or binge-watches. For Pakistanis, Dawood Ibrahim is like Osama bin Laden. He is Pakistan’s Schrödinger cat. Is he there, is he not? Also, Dawood Ibrahim is no Hafiz Saeed or Masood Azhar. Or even an Osama bin Laden. Not that anyone knew where Laden was till he was where he shouldn’t have been. Ladens and Azhars are icons, not Dawood. And who is to be blamed for it? India.


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Dawood ka makaan, Dawood ki car

Now, of things we know or at least keep hearing, about the mysterious Dawood. He is someone whose chasma number hasn’t changed. That’s why he has been seen in the same specs ever since the British left India. He is a part-time driver in Karachi who owns a worn out taxi. He was once caught watching dirty picture from a local internet café. His palace in Clifton is called White House and his neighbours are powerful—coincidence or not, but just another similarity between him and Osama bin Laden. With great power comes great neighbourhood. Once, India told us that Dawood shared his house address with that of Maleeha Lodhi, who was then Pakistan’s representative at the UN. Such grave misinformation only added to our ‘knowledge’ about Dawood.

Dawood likes afternoon naps. In a rather shocking sting operation by an Indian TV channel Times Now, it was revealed that Dawood owned a landline number in Pakistan. That was awkward. The don is said to own houses and he can’t have a landline in Pakistan? On a Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd number, the wife of the terrorist told an emotionally charged correspondent that she was Mehjabeen and that her husband was sleeping. Now, why Mrs Ibrahim wasn’t sleeping was not investigated. But rest assured, the world hasn’t been the same ever since this revelation.


Also read: Pakistan’s enemy number one is Israel now. India can wait


Dawood is dead, Dawood is alive

Only in June this year, Dawood became the new Mullah Omar of being dead. No mean achievement though. We were told that Dawood was infected with Covid-19 and passed away. Just like in 2016 when he was declared almost dead and again in 2017 it seemed Dawood was after his own heart when he had a heart attack and was critical. It seems in 2018 and 2019, he escaped death-by-media.

The don keeps changing his location. Sometimes, his address changes to Murree, a hill station. Now who doesn’t want to spend summers in a cool place? Since Dawood’s daughter is married to the son of former Pakistani cricketer Javed Miandad, his invisible ‘presence’ in Pakistan becomes all the more special. On behalf of Miandad, sometimes he also likes to take up fights. That’s why Shahid Afridi was once asked by Dawood to stop talking against Miandad or else—you know the fugitive gangster used to do in Mumbai till nearly three decades ago. Dawood and Miandad are like Sholay’s Gabbar and his sidekick Sambha. And all friends have to, at times, pay the price for their friendship—Miandad had to pay after India denied him a visa in 2013. Although in Pakistan, there is no shortage of opportunities for Miandad. He has announced his entry into politics. He might one day become the next prime minister of Dawood-less Pakistan. Umeed pe duniya qaim hai (hope makes the world go round).

What do Pakistani leaders say about Dawood? Musharraf says there is no need to be decent to tell anything to India about Dawood—“Wo hoga yehi kahin, humay kya pata?” Imran Khan, before he became the prime minister, had said that he did not know where Dawood was, but if he came to power he shall know. But then, who knows about things that are unknown? There is no such thing as Dawood Ibrahim in Pakistan, just as there was no Osama bin Laden.

The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.

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28 Comments Share Your Views

28 COMMENTS

  1. You naila inayat. Go learn English don’t copy movie dialogues and shorten words and write like indians do now. Like Ne De for new Delhi indian writing is turning out to be very funny

  2. how much did isi pay you to write this piece and to the print to publish this piece? the sarcasm is more focused on india than pak. if allowed, she may even glorify da wood into a messiah of the masses. as for his aukat with laden and hafiz, they are more horrible than dawood. that is the aukat of pak and its paid terrorists.

  3. A Pakistani journalist who is skeptic and not sure. May be she is sure but she is scared to write. We would ve appreciated some facts coming out. If this was some competition of poetry or less scarsm she would ve stood a chance. We would care less of Dawood. Why couldn’t she write about the Azhars & their terrorist camps? Scared to write or is it just inconvenient? Does she write the actual things about India in Pakistan press? Does she write we had a Muslim President and we ve most successful Muslim actors than any actor in Pakistan? Does she write about the origin of Sufism and how successful was sufi islam?

  4. I wait for naila’s column every Thursday and this is the reason why. Best treatment of complex matters even involving terrorists like obl, hafiz saeed or dawood ibrahim.

  5. BRILLIANT. There is no one like naila inayat neither in Pakistan nor India. That last line was icing on the cake ‘there’s no such thing as dawood Ibrahim in pakistan just like there was no Osama bin Laden in Abottabad’

  6. The thing that Jawed Miandad’s son is married to the don’s daughter. No one calls for trouble. The young couple studied abroad. And when the parents would have had given consent to their son. Do you think the don’s daughter is in love of a boy. And had he left her do you think he could have had not been killed? Miandad saved his son’s life. And for the life of your children you can do anything.

  7. You are again doing the same thing as you mentioned in your article.
    Now blaming Indians for the bad reputation of Pakistan.
    Complete non sense and says how much insecure you are.
    Don’t you just say why all the names mentioned is related to Pakistan why not any other country. Its because there is dirt.

  8. it is better let him rot in Karachi. Pakistan cannot protect him, nor throw him out. Liability is more dangerous than not having an asset.

  9. As for as I think you want to run Generalism and not Journalism my Great Prophet SAW said the greatest Jehad is telling Truth on the face of th Ruler will you ever speak on the face of the killer of thousands of innocent Muslims of Gujrat? Never I assure you because you considered them insects and not human being.

  10. This dumb website could only come to this bizzare conclusion that the one who is responsible for this fantasy of dawood living in Pakistan is somehow India, and in their own stupid world ignores the fact that all these lowlives finally find refuge in none other than the “charming” Pakistan. Wow! Everyone, a big round of applause !!!

  11. Why ? it was so needed , to write a column for Dawood Ibrahim ,by a seasoned writer. Whatsoever case may be , if he is alive or dead . No need to highlight a controversial personality. This is the right time to come back towards , a state of normalisation of the relations , between India & Pakistan. In case of new worldly blocks & divisions of the nations ; Still India & Pakistan shares many commonalities and both are neighbors , which can not be denied.

  12. If Dawood Ibrahim allegedly is in Pakistan than how many terrorists India have on its soil given complete protection
    Indian terrorist Kulbushan Jadev is in Pakistan custody and sentenced to death on proven charges of terrorism on Pakistani soil resulting deaths of hundreds

    • We Indians believe in peace and prosperity. We are not obsessed with Pakistan unlike Pakistanis. We don’t ve Masood Azar or Osma bil Laden. We don’t produce terrorist. We produce CEO’s like Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella. We Indians don’t want any kind of war with Pakistan. So don’t waste your money on your Generals and save yourself and your country from poverty. Invest more in education. A happy and prosperous Pakistan rather than a nuisance Pakistan is good for us. China is only using you to get to us. They don’t care for their own Uighur ppl why will they care for Pakistanis.

      • I sir tend to disagree I as an overseas Pakistani type in Pakistan for news and all it throws columns from Indian news channels now I don’t know wheather it’s to spread misinformation or a mere coincidence that every time you want to find news in Pakistan Indian press channels news is there and not to mention most of it is Anti-Pakistan

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