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September 10, 1998: The Year in Review

India, Pakistan set differences aside to fight common enemy

NEW DEHLI — Forty years of conflict. Eleven nuclear tests. This is the setting for the world’s newest arms race, between India and Pakistan. The stakes: control of the Indian subcontinent.

But yesterday the two superpowers apparently set their differences aside, for the moment at least, in order to do battle with a common enemy: Wesley "Junior" Beaumont, a wealthy businessman from Atlanta, who is threatening to buy the subcontinent and leave both nations completely powerless.

"If this were allowed to happen, it would be a sad day for both Pakistanis and Indians alike," said Pakistan President Jazba Dilawar Hogg in a national address last week appealing for India’s help. "We must learn to give up our own personal disputes — for the moment — in order to vanquish the true villain in our midst."dukes.jpg (24187 bytes)

In exchange, Hogg agreed that Pakistan will forgive its charges that Indian agents Rajan and Prakesh Duke caused a public nuisance by driving through the center of Islamabad and honking their horn during President Hogg Day, which has been described as "Pakistan’s Newest and Most Sacred of Holidays."

The insult to Hogg was increased by the fact that the Duke agents were driving in their souped-up drag racer, The Mahatma Lee, whose horn beeps the Indian national anthem. Upon hearing the song, Hogg was so startled that he poured curry all over his white suit and had to have it dry-cleaned.

"Naturally we demanded that India pay the cleaning bill, since the entire incident was caused by the reckless behavior of their agents," said Hogg. "But this is just the sort of abomination which we have found necessary to forgive in order to forge this partnership. For now."

While the Pakistani leader called for a truce, dissension was visible in the ranks. General Rosco P. Cahabarata decried President Hogg’s decision, claiming that the Pakistani military forces could prevail without India’s help.

"I don’t see why Boss Hogg had to call in them Duke boys and let them mess everything up," said Cahabarata. "Why, I’m doing fine right here. If anybody tries to overthrow the subcontinent, my dog Flash will let us know. Me and Colonel Abdullah Enos have got this entire country all laid out on this map, and check points are marked by cheese sandwiches indicating every military installation we have — wait a minute, where are the cheese sandwiches? Flash, dagnabit!"

In India, however, there seemed to be little resistence to the idea of a partnership between the two nations. "That’s the way we Dukes are. When someone’s in trouble, we try to be there for ‘em — even Rosco and Enos," said Indian Foreign Minister Uncle Preetam, the Duke family patriarch. "Of course, I know old President Hogg and I don’t trust him any farther than I can throw him, and let me tell you, nobody can throw that varmint too far. So I’m also sending Pratiba here to make sure the boys don’t get into too much trouble," Uncle Preetam said, indicating his niece who was busy tending the land, dressed in a cut-off sari. "Don’t tell anyone," he said with a wink, "but she’s smarter and stronger than both the boys put together."

Right before press time, the wire services reported that the Duke boys had been kidnapped by Beaumont, who is reportedly holding them until after the big race was completed.

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