• 13 Oct - 19 Oct, 2018
  • Salaar Laghari
  • Fiction

"The episode seemed interesting towards the end,” said Rehan.

“Thank God! I’m glad you’re getting interested in this,” Maria replied.

Rehan silently chuckled.

“What?” she questioned him.

“Nothing,” he replied shaking his head with a smile.

“What is it?” she asked curiously.

“Nothing, really.”

“I won’t stop asking unless you’ll tell me,” Maria was adamant to find out what was going on in Rehan’s mind.

“No. I’m just concerned that you shouldn’t take this show quite seriously. Don’t get me wrong but these episodes can be watched to pass one’s time. But the way we are engrossed in its episodes, doesn’t look good to me.”

“A woman has been murdered. You can’t just watch this stuff casually,” Maria argued with Rehan.

“I know. There was a time when I thought the same. But nothing good came out of it. Watching reality shows affects one quite deeply.”

Remembering Rehan’s experience of Professor Yasir Javed’s murder, Maria realised that he was right and was saying everything out of sincerity.

“Maybe you are right,” she said and stood up to prepare dinner.

“Great!” Rehan said and then switched off the TV.

Thinking about his own experience from the past, Rehan started worrying about his wife’s growing interest in the show.

I wish I could undo the decisions of my past few days. He wondered.

These were the exact words that Rehan would be uttering within the next few weeks.


Next morning, Inspector Adnan stood next to his car, while waiting for the police constable to arrive. He kept chewing beetle leaf, as he waited for his subordinate.

Few minutes later, the constable came by and said, “I’m sorry for being late. Let’s go!”

“No issue at all. Get in the car,” he replied. His demeanor was enough for one to notice his disinterest in the job.

Next minute, Inspector Adnan and the constable got in their van. The constable drove the vehicle and they were headed towards the hotel where the late Maimoona was staying.

“Sir, are we going there for investigation?”

“For people, yes; but for you and me, no,” he responded.

“Then what are we actually going for?”

“You’ll see; and you’ll be delighted.”

Several minutes later, they reached outside the hotel’s building and stepped outside the vehicle. They saw TV host Zafar Mohsin standing, as if he was waiting for them to arrive. While walking towards him, Inspector Adnan ordered the constable, “You stay here, I’ll talk to him.”

“Alright sir,” he adhered.

The police inspector and Zafar Mohsin got closer. Zafar immediately handed over two five thousand rupee notes before shaking hands with the inspector and said, “Alright, take these and leave.”

“One moment, let me clear this one last time. I am accepting this bribe only because you were insisting and asking me to let you do this job.”

“Yes,” Zafar agreed.

“Otherwise, I could have done this by myself.”

“I know… I know, but I need to investigate Maimoona Alam’s murder on my own. I will clearly narrate it in my TV show that you have done all the investigations and you were the one who gave me all the information.”

“Good! And your team members must be willing to give false information, is that understood?”

“False information? Regarding what?”

“If they have seen Inspector Adnan around the hotel or not?”

“Oh, yeah… yeah, of course. I get it.”

“And lastly, if we get caught or exposed…”

“I will be responsible. I know,” Zafar said, completing the sentence and interrupting him.


They shook hands and the Inspector left.


During the afternoon, Rehan was at his office. He was having a cup of coffee. He asked his colleague who was sitting nearby. “Are you watching the TV show Crimes at Corners?”

“Not currently, but I used to a little time ago,” the colleague replied.

“Oh, okay,” Rehan said and smiled courteously, then turned his face away. He finished his coffee and continued with his work.

Hours later during the evening, Maria was seated on the couch waiting for the show to begin. She wanted Rehan to come and watch the episodes with her but she didn’t feel like asking him.

Rehan changed his clothes and sat down with Maria asking her about the show.

“So, when is the show starting?” he asked her.

“Quite soon. I mean it’s about to,” she replied.

“Alright, let’s see how have they progressed so far.”

They waited during the commercial break. The show began with Zafar’s narration: “In the previous episode of Crimes at Corners, we visited the hotel room and discussed all the suspects. Today, we are finally going to interview the second suspect, because we aren’t able to connect with the first suspect.” Images of the crime scene appeared on the screen. Rehan wasn’t comfortable with its sight, so turned he his face around to avoid looking at them; it was just the narration that he paid attention to. “The TV producer Jabar Kansiro is here with us at our studio.”

Rehan looked up to see the suspect’s face. The host of the show Zafar and the TV producer Jabar were sitting close together face to face in their studio. Zafar was speaking while looking at the camera: “Jabar Kansiro, a great TV producer, who does not depend on any praise or compliments from us has finally agreed to come and give us a brief account on his relationship with the slain Maimoona Alam.”

Zafar turned towards his guest and asked: “So, Mr Kansiro would you like to tell us what exactly happened between you and Ms Alam? Are rumours about your feud with her true?”

“First of all let me tell you one thing here…” Jabar started to speak rather politely. “I never expect anyone to be honest with me. This means that there is no such thing as commitment in our world.”

“In your world? You mean the world of showbiz?” Zafar questioned him.

“Yes. So no matter how many contracts or commitment letters one signs, they are just a piece of paper to them. Secondly, rumours that you are talking about, are in fact, all exaggerated. These are the words of media. You know the media better than me. More than 50 per cent of the content is based on exaggeration.”

Zafar interrupted him and said: “It maybe exaggeration, but your team members told the media in a press conference that you have invested millions on that movie project. And since she refused to shoot with you, you suffered a huge monetary loss.”

“Mr Zafar Mohsin,” Jabar sarcastically began to speak. “You are mistaken. You need to do your homework better and work on improvement.”

“Excuse me?” Zafar retorted.

“It was not a movie project,” Jabar clarified.

“Oh, I’m sorry. It was a slip of the tongue. I know very well that it was a drama serial. Apologies,” Zafar said and laughed it off.

“Secondly, she never refused to shoot with me. She just signed another contract secretly, without letting me know. So that was the reason why I fired her.”

“You fired her?”

“Yes, I did.”

Watching the show take interesting twists and turns, Rehan said, “This guy played it well.”

“What do you mean?” Maria asked him.

“He perfectly dodged a bullet.”

“Oh, you mean that. Well, I don’t disagree with you on that.”

Zafar asked Jabar: “So, about your millions of investment, what happened to it? Did you get it back?”

“Of course, not. Maimoona Alam is not the only actress in Pakistan. There are plenty more and better than her. I have signed someone else for the job.”

“Oh, that’s good”

Maria looked visibly upset with the conversation and asked Rehan, “I think, he is hiding something.”


“Jabar Kansiro, obviously.”

“No. He’s not exactly hiding something. It’s Zafar Mohsin that I’m angry with. He is not smart enough to counter him by cross questioning.”

“Yeah,” she agreed and looked annoyed with the show.

“So, my next question is about your emotions?”

“Pardon me,” Jabar got confused.

“I mean, how do you feel when you first heard of Maimoona Alam’s death.”

“Oh, that. Well, I obviously felt quite bad about her.”

“Can you please define ‘bad’ here?”

“I felt sad for her family and for the TV producer who had to finish the movie without her, which means he couldn’t complete his film.”

“I see.”

“How cunning is the way he pretended to have forgotten the director’s name,” Rehan commented.

“Yeah, that was evil smartness,” Maria spoke after him.

“Alright, ladies and gentlemen!” Zafar spoke looking at the audience. “We will now take a short break and continue the show once we return.”

During the commercial break, Rehan reduced the TV’s volume and sighed. This is when Maria asked him, “Do you think he can be involved? Jabar Kansiro?”

“No. I don’t positively think so. He can’t be involved in the murder but he might know who is behind it.”

“Who is behind it? What does that mean?” Maria asked in a perplexed manner.

“I mean that he might know the actual murderer behind Maimoona Alam’s death, maybe.”

“But what makes you think that?” she enquired.

“His lack of answering straightforwardly. His sarcasm.”

“Yes, his sarcasm. I really don’t like that about him.”

“Nobody probably does. But that doesn’t make him a criminal or a suspect.”

“This man had a valid point,” Maria said.

“Who?” Rehan asked her.

“Jabar Kansiro about the fact that there are plenty of other actors to work in his drama, if one pulls out.”

“Well yeah, it means that loss of money was not what really happened.”

“Exactly, but that gives him an alibi, doesn’t it?”

“Not necessarily.”

“Why not? Maybe he planned this excuse and then actually murdered her. Don’t you see his confidence?”

“I can’t say, unless all the suspects are interviewed.”

“Suspects are not always available for interviewing.”

“But he is at least brave enough to come and speak in front of everyone.”

“Maybe that’s his trick; lying with confidence. That’s what the culprits usually do. Haven’t you read such stuff in psychology?”

Rehan gave her words a deep thought and realised that she might be right about him. He now felt anxious and decided to watch the remaining episode, while suspecting Jabar.

As the show resumed, Rehan turned up the TV’s volume.

Zafar continued: “Welcome back to our show Crimes at Corners. We will now ask our final two questions from our guest who was kind enough to spare time for us. So Mr Jabar, please tell us that whom would you suspect for Ms Maimoona’s death? You can name anyone from outside or inside the film industry.”

“I’d like to answer that later. What is your second question?”

“Alright, my second question is whom did you replace Ms Maimoona with, in your drama serial?”


Jabar appeared confused. Rehan got even more suspicious.

“I’m asking…” Zafar rephrased his words. “After Maimoona refused to work, I mean when you fired her, whom did you cast in your drama project?”

“I... I... I actually...” Jabar stuttered in his speech. “I have asked three actors.”

“You’ve asked three actors but didn’t you mention having already replaced her?”

“No. I didn’t,” Jabar said avoiding eye contact with the host.

“He is lying,” Maria commented pointed her finger. “He is he is definitely lying.”

“I know... I know,” Rehan answered, while paying attention towards Jabar’s reaction.

“Okay, anyway,” Zafar chuckled and came to his final conclusion. “Now, tell us about our previous question.”

“Uh… what was that?”

“Whom do you suspect behind Maimoona Alam’s murder?”

“Yeah, right... well, the answer to that is...” He stopped for a while, building up some unneeded suspense in a few seconds.

“I’m going to tell you something,” Jabar spoke confidently. “What no other celebrity would ever tell you.”

“Oh, what is that?” Zafar asked.

“Maimoona was not actually murdered.”

“What?” Zafar looked shocked.

“Her death was not a murder. It was a suicide.”

At this point the episode ended.

“What the hell?” Maria uttered angrily.

“Oh my God!” Rehan said, “Maimoona actually committed suicide.”

“I don’t know, but why did they end the episode at such a point?”

“Obviously, so that we all would wait eagerly and eventually watch the next episode.”

“How immature of them? But anyway, Jabar Kansiro said that her death was

a suicide.”

“I just can’t decide whether his statement was an assumption or some secret information. “I’m just trying to figure that out.”

“It can be an assumption. I’m with you on this,” Maria told Rehan.

“I’m also positive on that.”

“But this guy seemed rather confused.”

“Rather? A lot! He couldn’t answer when he was questioned about Maimoona’s replacement.”

“He was confused because he wasn’t prepared for it. He hadn’t thought of an answer for that.”

“Yes. This proves that everything he said was a lie.”


“Well, yes. Almost everything was a lie.”

“Anyway, I don’t think they will interview him any further.”

“Of course, and secondly, I don’t think the team of Crimes at Corners will ever find the killer.”

to be continued...