Pakistan: Arabian nights:::Clergy rocked by Madame Tahira's startling revelations


Chief Minister (5k+ posts)
Pakistan: Arabian nights

Clergy rocked by Madame Tahira's startling revelations
Abbas Nasir December 15, 1991 | UPDATED 12:04 IST

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Till just a few weeks ago, she was consigned to obscurity in Islamabad's salubrious outskirts. But last fortnight 33-year-old Tahira (nobody knows her second name) hit the headlines, after her startling disclosures about the not-so-kosher extra-curricular activities of a member of the clergy.

Ironically, Haq, who has been attacked for sexual peccadilloes, was the prime mover of the Shariat Bill.
Madame Tahira, as the press named her, made amazing revelations about the nocturnal activities of the ruling elite, which were later retracted. But the Islamabad Sex Scandal exploded when Pakistani high society was still reeling from Tehmina Durrani's revelations about her feudal lord.

The central character, the ruling Islami Jumhoori Ittehad's (IJI) dissident Senator Maulana Samiul Haq, who hadn't been cited by name at the time, denied his involvement as the issue was discussed in the Senate.

Ironically, Haq was one of the prime movers of the Shariat Bill. "I'm innocent. I've been framed by government agencies for opposing official policies," he shouted in the House, but later resigned from office.

However, few were outraged by the scandal in a country with a tradition of sexual indiscretion by those in power. Former chief martial law administrator general Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan rose to greater fame for his orgies.

Akleem Akhtar, called General Rani - who ran the bordello which catered to Yahya Khan - had vivid tales about the general's "unique" sexual practices. The charismatic Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a playboy of sorts. But he was never charged with perverted sexual behaviour.

Madame Tahira (left); and Maulana Samiul Haq: Dangerous liaisons
However, Haq's story - appropriately headlined by Pakistan's premier daily, The News, as 'Burning a scandal at both ends' - was different. Tahira mentioned the maulana's sexual prowess during a "sandwich session". This reportedly involved his own son-in-law and one of the madame's charming young hostesses.

Interestingly, Tahira claimed the maulana's appetite was insatiable during the debate before the passage of the Shariat Bill. Ironically, the legislation prescribes "exemplary" penalties for sinners. Tahira had also cited many politicians and top government officers.

Among those using coded phone calls to have escorts dropped off at their residence were a minister, and another maulana - who led the anti-Salman Rushdie campaign.

Tahira apparently has several rolls of negatives with government functionaries caught in action. As an IJI member said, the maulana was not lambasted for just having sinned, but for getting caught at a time when the Government was reeling in the aftermath of the cooperatives collapse and the loan scandals.

The sex scandal could have been a chance for the administration to divert attention away from opposition attack.
This is the argument of those who say the highest in the land has got away unscathed with his affairs. The reference is to the one who's said to have been overheard singing Kishore Kumar's Aisay na mujhay tum dekho to a socialite from across the border.

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