This week I am sorely disappointed. Another one of my dreams has bit the dust and it is really quite tragic indeed. The only thing that redeems the situation is that our government obviously watches a lot of spy movies, because the Senate has squashed a proposal to allow foreigners married to Pakistani women to be naturalized, because that would open an avenue whereby an enemy country could spy on us. These dark and deadly enemies, lurking in the shadows, ensnaring our innocent women with their foreigner charms so they can use their nationality as a stepping stone to get a green passport, to gain visa-free ingress into our country and proceed to then do all kinds of nefarious deeds. I am so sad, because my plan in life was to marry a charming foreigner with a shady past, and then be part of a glamorous spy ring, smoking cigarettes in a long black holder and speaking fifteen languages with alarming ease as I passed brown paper parcels to similarly glamorous fellow-spies under tables or palmed chits from passing waiters. Just imagine how exciting it could be, but alas. It is not my fate. Just as well that I married a nice boy from Lahore instead.

It makes so much sense, doesn’t it? Pakistani men can have their wives naturalised, through an admittedly tedious but ultimately possible process because obviously no enemy spies are women, and none of them could ever fool a Pakistani man. He’d see right through those spy wiles quicker than you can say astaghfar, spy and that would be that. No self-respecting Pakistani man would ever bring a foreigner home to his mama unless said foreigner was basically a brown girl tucked inside a white girl, kind of like the Chinese biryani-making girl from the Shan advertisement. Also, when men marry “out” it’s all right because religion, you know. So if you are a little blonde Muslim then you can be Pakistanis too, hurrah for you and your liberated Pakistani daddy! If you’re a Pakistani woman then you can forget about that. You’re already an aberration for marrying outside the fold of nationality, most likely your husband converted to marry you and who knows how legit that is anyway (because we were all of us, to a man, born Muslims and nobody ever converted so we are the Real Deal), so your children don’t get to be Pakistanis. Your husband is a spy anyway, so if he wants to come and steal state secrets then he better get a visa just like all the other spies do. Pay the fees, stand in the line. You aren’t special.

But we all know the truth: there is no earthly reason for anyone wanting a Pakistani passport other than espionage. You are obviously the tool of your dastardly government if you marry a Pakistani woman and then actually want to be a citizen of this fair land. Our passport is the second-last worst one to have in the entire world. Heck, even if we have foreign passports we still get “randomly” checked at airports because we’re brown (and are also lugging a plush blanket in a zippered plastic bag). It’s not like spies know how to infiltrate government systems regardless of nationality, or there’s no such thing as double-agents or recruiting locals to give you intelligence. No, the best and most effective way to spy on us is by playing the long game: meet Pakistani girls at international college, phasao them, use them for a passport and Bob’s your uncle.

With such an easy and effective way of creating an espionage network, I’m amazed that other countries haven’t realized the dangers of this. What with all the rishta aunties come hunting for “foreign-national” girls and alacrity with which we plop our carefully concealed pregnant girls on planes to deliver in the United States or England or Canada, you’d think these countries’ governments should have cottoned on by now. The U.S is so sweet and naïve to be like oh, anyone born on our soil is an American, anyone with an American parent deserves to be part of our great country because we’re so proud of it. No! You have to guard yourself! You can’t let just about anyone be like oh, I want to pass on my sense of patriotic pride and heritage to my children, or some outsider come in and be like oh I actually like the idea of being Pakistani in spite of the fact that I wasn’t raised inside a vortex of nationalist jingoism my whole life so please may I also join the club. You can’t even allow people who have been living in Pakistan for three generations to be real Pakistanis either because their great-grandfather was a refugee, so forget about someone who “loves” a Pakistani woman and married her. It isn’t “love”, it’s espionage! Did James Bond love any of the Bond girls? No he did not, and we have to be vigilant. That means you, English academic, techie Iranian, Greek lawyer, German banker—all you men leading potential double lives, fathers of children who have mamoos that play cricket on the street with them and khalas who buy them Jet Sport ice-lollies and nanis who make them lovely clothes for Eid, but only when they come visit on their foreign passports, with a visa, because they aren’t allowed to truly belong. We don’t want them, but we do also take full advantage of other countries’ inclusive immigrant policies because of course everyone wants us.

So there we have it: the only people who are allowed to be Pakistanis are wives and children of Pakistani men. I’ll just leave that here for you all.