A Case of Exploding Mangoes

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A Case of Exploding Mangoes
Case of Exploding Mangoes.jpg
Author Mohammed Hanif
Country Pakistan
Language English
Genre Comic novel
Published 2008 (Knopf/US)
Publication date
20 May 2008
Media type Print (Hardcover )
Pages 336 pp
ISBN 0-307-26807-1
OCLC 191865420

A Case of Exploding Mangoes (2008)[1] is a comic novel by the Pakistani writer Mohammed Hanif based on the plane crash that killed General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, former president of Pakistan. The book has a dark satirical style.

Plot summary[edit]

The central theme of the book is a fictitious story behind the real life plane crash which killed General Zia, president of Pakistan from 1977 to 1988, about which there are many conspiracy theories. After witnessing a tank parade in Bahawalpur, Zia left the small Punjabi town in the C-130 Hercules aircraft designated 'Pak One'.

Shortly after a smooth take-off, the control tower loses contact with the aircraft. Witnesses who saw the plane in the air later claimed it was flying erratically, before nosediving and exploding on impact, killing General Zia and several other senior army generals, in addition to Arnold Raphel, the US Ambassador to Pakistan. Zia had ruled Pakistan for 11 years prior to his death.

The book develops through the eyes of the narrator, Ali Shigri, a Junior Officer in the Pakistani Air Force who seeks revenge for the death of his father, which he is convinced, although apparently a suicide, was orchestrated by General Zia himself.

Real persons appearing as characters[edit]

Fictitious Characters[edit]

  • Prisoner imprisoned in the cell next to Ali Shigri, who claims to have been the Secretary General of All Pakistan Sweepers' Union back in the beginning of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq's era
  • Under Officer Obaid "Baby O"—Shigri's roommate at Pakistan Air Force Academy, who develops the idea of crashing his plane into an area where Zia is present (in manner of Mathias Rust's flight into Moscow)
  • Brigadier TM-Tahir Mirza, who bears a slightly close resemblance with Tariq Mehmood
  • Lt. "Loot" Bannon—USAF Instructor who develops "Silent Drill"
  • "Uncle Starchy"—launderer for PAF Academy, who keeps jars krait venom which he terms "death nectar"
  • Zainab—blind rape-victim whom Zia sentences to death (through stoning) for adultery, and who curses Zia
  • Maj. Kiyani—ISI officer who pushes Shigri to sign off that his father was a suicide (may be based on 2007-2013 Pakistan Army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, but not identical—as revealed at the novel's end) and transports Shigri between prisons

Awards and nominations[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Mohammed Hanif (May 2008). A Case of Exploding Mangoes. Knopf. ISBN 0-307-26807-1. 
  2. ^ 2009 Winners, [1], The Commonwealth Foundation Website. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
  3. ^ 'The Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2008 - The Winner', [2], Remembering Shakti Bhatt webpage [3], 27 January 2009. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
  4. ^ Higgins, Charlotte (31 October 2008). "Five of the best in line for the Guardian first book award". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 April 2010. 
  5. ^ Prize Archive 2008, [4], The Man Booker Prize website. Retrieved 2012-02-06.