New Delhi — Pakistan's last democratically elected president, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was hanged by the Zia regime in 1979, would relish the confusion he's spawned in New Delhi.
A drama on the life and times of the Pakistani leader by popular playwright I.S. Johar arrived in New Delhi early this month, after a successful but aborted Bombay run. New Delhi officials feigned disbelief that the Bombay authorities had banned the play. Days later, however, it was banned in New Delhi.
A daily newspaper promised serialization, but printed only act one. After a tennis match with the Pakistani ambassador, the newspaper's editor had second thoughts. It was, he mused privately, ''an interference in Pakistan's domestic affairs.''
After 10 days of confusion, the ostensible culprit is India's Ministry of External Affairs which has said that, yes, it issued the banning order after the Pakistani Embassy lodged an official protest. President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq had reportedly threatened to cancel his Delhi visit if ''Bhutto'' was being performed here.
Playwright Johar's reaction? He's actually quite pleased, as he has been catapulted into the international arena, and the play has been purchased by the BBC.