Is the golden mime spying on us? In Pakistan, it is not a strange question.

Islamabad: Street performers first appeared a few years ago at Islamabad’s busy intersections. Covered from head to toe in striking gold paint, they stood perfectly still, leaning on shiny canes and spreading their top hats. Some smiled or nodded slowly as they received tips from passersby.

Perhaps in another place, the appearance of mimes on the street looking to earn a few dollars could go unnoticed. But this is Pakistan, where things under the security state are often not as simple as they seem. Thus, as the number of golden artists grew, so did the intrigue around them. Could they be informants from the country’s intelligence agency? Looking for powerful politicians? Maybe CIA spies?

One of the “golden man” mimes that perform on the streets of Islamabad.Credit: The New York Times

“In any other country, if you see a beggar, it is clear that he is a beggar,” said Habib Kareem, 26, a lawyer in Islamabad, the capital. “But here you see a beggar and you think, ‘He’s working for them,'” he added, referring to Pakistan’s powerful intelligence services.

Today, the “golden men” of Islamabad have joined the ranks of conspiracy theories that sprout, demolish and repeat every day across the city. In Pakistan, where the hand of the security services is seen everywhere, conspiracy theories have been embraced by the mainstream for decades, driving conversations among street vendors, politicians and everyone in between.

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  • Source of information and images “brisbanetimes

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