After defying the Taliban during fashion show week, with bare backs and sleek shoulders, fashion designers have decided to hold dialog with key representatives of the tehzeeb-i-taliban. "You can not always win by defiance," said Pooh, the CEO of Fashion Show Pakistan. "You gotta catwalk the talk. We held a large fashion show at a secret location with 142,000 security guards," he continued. "All 150 guests got a call the night before verifying the location. We paraded low cut blouses in the shadow of the sword. It was exhilarating like wasabi and cocaine mixed up." But with a somber expression, Pooh claimed, that the time was now ripe for face to face dialog. "No battle can be won by defiance and snubbery alone."
Representing the fashion industry, Designer Diz Diz, 48, better known as Pakistan's Versace and Vera Wang all wrapped into one delicious satin gown, went to meet a member of the Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan. He told us that Billu Mehsud was almost convinced that baggy shalwars would go well with beige halter tops. "I showed them the computer generated image of a six foot talib standing on the most gigantic rock, touting a rifle in a tank top."
His eyes misty, Diz Diz, recalled that the taliban of the 90s were the original metrosexuals -- kohl lined eyes, exceptionally long legs, aquiline profiles-- they went from town to town in pickup trucks, elimininating corruption and burning poppy fields."We need to go back to our roots, and put the vice back in virtue," Diz winked. Tehzeeb is a faction of the Taliban that, arguably, is the most amenable to this type of dialog. "We will turn them into SMDs! Sexy machines for destruction."
Billu seemed keen on a flashy, broad silver belt that Diz had designed specially for suicide bombers. "Look, I'm dead against these violent tactics. But if you must go and take peeps with you, you may as well go in style." Diz clarified his position that he did not condone suicide attacks.
The Mehsuds seemed resolute that women should not be allowed to wear the latest styles. They shook their heads at a catalog of urban contemporary womens' fashion. And then shook them again. Diz realized that this was non negotiable territory, and chose instead the path of diplomacy in talking the Taliban out of bombing girls' schools.
Diz explained there were plenty of methods to oppress women without resorting to such barbarism. "Lowest wages, horrible healthcare, institutionalized discrimination are conventional means of retaining their inferior status. Why blow up schools, and kill no one, when through culture and education you can naturally chip away at their self esteem and reinforce their primary role as brides, wives and reproducers?"
Again, Diz, clarified, with a sparkle in his eye, he hates killing but he had to choose he'd do it softly, strumming a guitar.
A red headed second cousin, who we later discovered was a bastard, was chewing on swine leather at a distance, a habit he developed fighting the Soviets. Rather crudely, he interrupted and said: "I blow schools because we got a lucrative contract from the navy to do so." The red head disclosed that he had recently bombed boys' school because he could not meet the navy's quota for school targets. No one was convinced by the bastard's allegations.
The dialog ended peacefully with Diz showing a bunch of giggling teenage taliban (recruited for suicide mission) how to dance to the Y-M-C-A. As a gesture of goodwill, the Talibs pardoned a couple due to be stoned and instead got stoned with Diz.
"Young men, there is indeed no need to be so down," smiled Diz in an interview as he was taken blindfolded on a seventeen hour truck journey back to Karachi. "There is a world we fashionistas can win."