Renowned author Mohammad Hanif said on Monday that some people who stated that they were from an intelligence agency raided his Urdu Publisher’s offices today and confiscated all copies of his 2008 bestseller’s translated version A Case of Exploding Mangoes.
Hanif said, on Twitter, that the men, claiming to belong to the Inter-services Intelligence (ISI), had also threatened their manager after barging into Maktaba Daniyal’s offices and seeking “information about our whereabouts.” He said the people would return tomorrow with the lists of booksellers selling the novel.
Pakistani military satire Mangoes, which recalls the last days of General Zia-ul-Haq’s rule and the various conspiracies behind the 1988 plane crash that killed him, was released late last year in Urdu.
In another tweet, Hanif said they received a defamation notice from Gen Zia’s son last week asking for Rs1 billion to malign the name of the former military ruler.
“An answer is being prepared by our lawyers. Is ISI acting on behalf of Ejazul Haq?” he asked.
Hanif, a former fighter pilot who became a journalist and a writer, noted that his novel has been written for 11 years.
“Nobody has ever bothered me. Why now? I am sitting here, wondering when will they come for us. ISI is World’s No 1 spy agency. I am sure they have better things to do. I have my school run tomorrow,” he wrote.
Although Mangoes was set in Zia’s Pakistan, it was first published in English during the rule of another military dictator, Pervez Musharraf. Since spending nearly 12 years with the BBC in London, its release clashed with Hanif’s return to Pakistan.
The novel has received good reviews globally and has been longlisted for the Booker Prize, with reviewers comparing Hanif with other popular satire authors.