'Tum to mujhay aziz ho Naswaar ki tarha"!
The United States government was unaware that Raymond Davis was hooked on ‘naswar,’ and in all probability he is now undergoing withdrawal symptoms, unless there is a friendly guard nearby to offer him some, or the jail doctors recommends weaning him away from what is a legal form of tobacco.
When the US Embassy was approached, they appeared unaware of Davis’s ‘desi’ addiction. Abrupt stopping of ‘naswar’ intake can be uncomfortable as junkies discover, if they are without their hourly ‘fix’. Withdrawal symptoms include headache and anxiety and anger.
According to a Bannu shopkeeper, the price of one packet of Bannu Naswar is Rs7. “One packet is enough for thirty pinches of ‘naswar.’
According to the challan by the city police in Lahore, a packet of ‘naswar’, was also recovered from Davis’s car, amongst other personal and lethal items that an undercover agent on active duty is expected to have with him at all times. US troops stationed inside Afghanistan are known to enjoy ‘naswar’ and have become hooked to it. Davis in all probability must have picked up the habit during his long stays in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It also reflects on the company he was keeping at the time. The problem of ‘naswar’ like chewing ‘pan’ is that one has to spit it out after a while.
Whether the Americans including Davis have found a socially correct way to deal with this aspect is unknown or did he spit it out of his car window?
According to Wikipedia, ‘naswar is held in the mouth for 10 to 15 minutes. If it is chewed it produces a bad taste in the mouth. Usually, the consumption varies but mostly people take it on an hourly basis.’ It is primarily used in Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Sweden and India.
“Once I was sitting next to a Norwegian at a meeting in Europe and was surprised to see him enjoying ‘naswar’”, a Pakistani diplomat told The News. It is predominantly used by members of the Pashtun ethnic groups. Nowadays people of other regions i.e. Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan also use it and the number of addict people is increasing day by day.
Some of the great varieties of naswar are found in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, but Bannu is especially famous for it. There are different brands of ‘naswar’ in the provinces such as “Toor Khamar”, “Missile”, “Safarish Khan”, “Lucky” etc. Toor Khamar ‘naswar’ is prepared in Shahbaz Garhi, Pakhtoonkhwah, while Safarish Khan and Lucky are prepared in Havelian, Pakhtoonkhwah and Abbottabad, Hazara Division, Pakhtoonkhwah.
The News received telephone calls from the Fata area, and two calls from Waziristan when this correspondent had in an international Pushto programme, mentioned Davis’s love for ‘naswar’. “This is the only good thing we have heard about this American killer. We are glad that he has picked up this healthy habit from his Pushtun friends and acquaintances,” said a gentleman who identified himself as Wazir Khan.
Some of Khan’s friends had this to say, “So much attention is being given to three boys killed in Lahore by an American. What about the Pakhtuns who are being killed like flies by US drones? What will it take to get kind of worldwide attention?”