Brothers in Arms
By ADAM B. ELLICK, New York Times, February 10, 2008
Mahammed Farooqi, a 49-year-old Pakistani news addict, was snoring through the story of his generation.
It was 8 a.m. on Dec. 27, and Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s opposition leader, had just been assassinated as her motorcade inched through a dense crowd in her homeland.
Under ordinary circumstances, Mr. Farooqi would have been the first to know about such a politically transforming event. Every night, while his wife is sleeping peacefully in the bedroom, he dozes on the sofa in the living room of his house in Dix Hills on Long Island, with the television set on.
On this historic Thursday, however, neither the television nor the incessant callers from around the world managed to wake him. The previous day, Mr. Farooqi, the editor and publisher of The Pakistan Post, a free, Queens-based newspaper that reveres Ms. Bhutto, had completed his weekly 34-hour sprint to churn out his 20-page issue.
Among the more persistent callers was Khalil ur Rehman, a journalist who is Mr. Farooqi’s counterpart on the other side of the political fence.
Mr. Khalil, a stout, bearded 55-year-old who lives in Shirley, Long Island, is the editor of The Urdu Times, the city’s other top Pakistani weekly. His publication fervently supports President Pervez Musharraf, the former general who had been Ms. Bhutto’s chief rival since 2002 and who was immediately accused by some members of her party of orchestrating her assassination. He has denied the charge.
Predictably, the two editors reacted to the killing in totally opposite fashion.
“I told him Pakistan isn’t dying,” Mr. Khalil said. “This thing will be good for Pakistan.”
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