Despite of being involved in so many cases with Agha Jan, Adnan was wondering which way the wind would blow. He had faced difficult situations smoothly in the cases before but he was anxious for this one.
Rohail and others were ready to keep Jawad’s story of the accident intact. Yet Adnan was certain that the way Qandeel had presented her side of the events, their case is bound to get hard. Ilaaf will not be released after whatever Qandeel had said in the court. They had to keep Qandeel away from court at any cost.
Qaiser Lashari was in contact with Muazzam Rana and Mujahid Baloach. Meanwhile he was designing a strategy but Adnan couldn’t know because he had been kept in dark as yet.
Adnan met Yusuf Miraj on Saturday, on the orders of Qaiser Lashari. He tried both soft and threatening tones to compel him to convince Qandeel to take her evidence back but Qandeel’s father had to be obnoxious and he was, no doubt. He wasn’t ready at any cost to convince her for any such matter. In fact he told him that he had decided to stand by Qandeel in each of her decisions. And that he won’t be intimidated by Qaiser Lashari nor he would give in to his cheap stratagems.
By cheap stratagems he meant that false news which Qaiser Lashari had circulated in whole city through his journalist friends and TV anchors. Adnan himself hadn’t liked this strategy of staining her name like this. Though he didn’t like Qandeel but he had his rules, good or bad, and he never forgot them no matter what. He was not of opinion to stain a girl’s name like this. He had thought that he would scare her or threaten to kill her father in order to stop her. The biggest concern was Ilaaf loved that girl and he was unaware of the unfolding of the events since then. Adnan shuddered at the thought of Ilaaf knowing the present situation. He didn’t let Adnan utter single insult against her let alone his father had planned of defaming her in whole city, Adnan could imagine the hurt Ilaaf would go through in such scenario.
Adnan wanted to talk to Qandeel directly. He had some hope of convincing her either with soft tone or by threatening her, but he was not permitted to do so. This responsibility was given to Asghar Siddique who had announced that very moment that it’s near to impossible to convince Qandeel in going against her decision. So now Adnan was anxious, He couldn’t draw any conclusions as he was used to do. He was waiting for orders from Qaiser Lashari. Ilaaf was kept unaware of whole business. Adnan used to take him to home late night and all newspapers were hidden whenever he was there. Also he was drugged heavily in meals so he used to sleep there mostly and Adnan would always take him to jail before dawn. Steps were taken to not to let him know situation even when he was in lock up.
That was a Sunday when they came home. There was total silence which was disturbing. Both wondered what is up. Fazal told them Qaiser Lashari and Muazzam Rana have gone for important task. They took dinner. Ilaaf asked him the usual question he used to ask these days,
“You guys are not going to hurt Qandeel, are you? I have only given consent to you people because I don’t want anything happen to her. If she gets hurt or even a minor thing happens to her, I will never be able to forgive myself or you all.”
Adnan became passive and assured him that nothing is going to happen to her. Ilaaf slept after dinner and Adnan sat near, looking at his sleeping best friend. He adored him and that had brought him to walk on a double-edged sword. He could never let Ilaaf spend time in prison, nor could he think of being a source of pain to Ilaaf by hurting his love, Qandeel. He took out cigarettes from Ilaaf’s drawer and smoked them all till dawn. He woke Ilaaf up when he heard the call of Morning Prayer. He had to shake him hard to get him up. Ilaaf’s eyes were red. They were back in Adnan’s car, back to same route - to lock up.
Adnan was very tired when he came back and he had decided to go back home for rest after meeting Qaiser Lashari but he was surprised to see him along with Muazzam Rana in lounge. It looked like they were waiting for him. He was asked to be seated. Qaiser Lashari started,
“We have to be present in court day after tomorrow and I don’t want Qandeel to be there.” His voice was grave.
There was some new order hidden in this voice.
“I have presented to you all of the options Uncle. Now you decide what we should do.” Adnan replied.
“You are right in your own way Adnan and I would have acted on your suggestion if it wouldn’t have been Yusuf Miraj. I know this obstinate man and his daughter more than you and Ilaaf and the suggestion to make Qandeel change her story by kidnapping her father is very dangerous.”
Adnan looked at the proficient politician who was afraid of an ordinary college professor and his daughter.
“How do you know them?” He had asked.
“It’s none of your business. But I must tell you that your suggestion is not right in present case. No doubt Yusuf Miraj is getting old but he still has his old wits. He would die rather to be taken to some place on gun point. And he would provide many difficulties for us if he’s kidnapped, he would endanger himself. And his daughter would bring our weakness to media and would play it well. And she can change the game too. She’s dangerous than her father. She’s a journalist and knows how to play these tricks. And may be they have already thought of all the tactics that is why they are going about their jobs freely.”
Adnan took a long breath. No doubt Qaiser Lashari had studied the situation deeply.
“So what should we do Uncle?” Adnan inquired.
Qaiser Lashari looked at Adnan. Muazzam Rana smiled enigmatically. He couldn’t understand what was going on.
“I didn’t want to go this far but this girl is being such a headache for me. We will lose in election if we don’t take this step.”
Adnan looked at him alarmingly. Had they decided to murder Qandeel without letting Ilaaf in it?
“Adnan, you will do this.”
So it was Adnan who had to go through this hard test. He felt cold sweat breaking on his brows. He was going to be ordered to kill not Qandeel but Ilaaf’s life.
I want to erase her from the face of the earth rather but it will make circumstances more difficult. At this time we are the only enemies she has and we will be accused automatically if she’s murdered. And it will be a new headache.”
These words had soothed Adnan profoundly. He could breathe again without difficulty.
“Kidnap her Adnan and keep her at your farmhouse until this case is solved. I will decide what should be done to her once Ilaaf is out of jail. Let me deal with her father. He will not be able to lodge complaint of her kidnap nor will he be able to prove Qandeel’s kidnapping. We’ll create such a situation that everybody will assume she left on her own. It will be easy to prove her and her witness a lie and it will lead to Ilaaf’s discharge.”
Adnan had listened all of this patiently and nodded. Kidnapping Qandeel to stop her from going to court was far better than murdering her in cold blood.
“And Ilaaf shouldn’t know any of it.”
Adnan bowed his head on hearing it.
“I will never be able to hide it from Ilaaf. And he’ll get to know it anyway, Uncle Qaiser. You know I cannot lie to him.”
“Fine. But then also tell him that Qandeel’s life has been spared. If he interfered in anything than I will forget she’s his choice.”
“Let this case be finished and I will close Qandeel’s matter permanently. Ilaaf has gone crazy over this ordinary girl. He must be distanced from her or else we’ll lose him.”
He was concerned. Adnan was astounded. Qaiser Lashari was so afraid of such an ordinary girl. He thinks she’d take Ilaaf away from him. Qaiser Lashari stood.
“I can arrange as many men as you need for this task.”
“I will call Rishi. I am more comfortable with my own men.”
“OK. But you need to complete this task today. Muazzam Rana would brief you more on this. Asghar Siddique will also be in contact.”
Qaiser Lashari was gone.
Adnan couldn’t decide if he should do this willingly or reluctantly. Anyway, he had to do this. And he’ll be held culprit in the eyes of Ilaaf. Taking a long breath he sat down and listened to other details from Muazzam Rana.
(Note: Special thanks to Noor-e-hira Shamim for translating this post)