Well, weve been told by those who should know that the way to tackle the dengue fever is to wait for the weather to get colder, so that the mosquito which spreads the dread disease is killed off. I should be excused, but that sounds like a cop-out, an admission that the all-wise government not just doesnt have all the answers, but doesnt have the answers even to simple questions about why the mosquito has spread. Im afraid that even if the Punjab government takes all the steps it should have, well still see some cases of dengue next year, as well as people dying of it. Well, if the government acts promptly enough, we might be able to hold back the number of deaths, which have crossed 100, and are heading upwards. Its clearly a civilian operation, for if it had been military, there would have been a denial that there had been any deaths, just as there is a denial that 1971 was a military defeat, just as if the largest number of soldiers had not surrendered there since World War II, And among those dying has been an MPA, as well as a member of the Punjab Public Service Commission. This followed up on the Secretary of the Mineral Development Corporation, who was until recently the highest ranking person to have died. I suppose this shows the indiscriminate nature of the disease, which is no respecter of persons. However, I suspect that the virus probably didnt know who it was infecting, or else it would have been duly impressed. And I presume these were people that Blackwater had not even been in touch with, let alone given the promise of eternal life which it seems to have given to so many others. The reason for the All Parties Conference being held out of Lahore, was probably not so much the dengue epidemic, as the fact that Islamabad is the national capital, and not just the PM, but a lot of party leaders spend their time there. The whole point of the APC was that Pakistan was under threat of attack by the USA, and the APC managed to pass a resolution which, while expressing support for the armed forces, managed also to avoid mentioning the USA in its resolution. This must be a useful hint to the National Assembly, which is meeting today over the same issue, on how to express subordination and subservience. One hopes that the USA is sufficiently grateful to its loyalists. It would be a turn-up for the books if it wasnt, wouldnt it? I wonder what made anyone think that they would be safe in Prime Ministers House in Islamabad? From dengue, I mean. Weve already seen that the dread disease is no respecter of persons in terms of status. However, maybe there have been special arrangements at Prime Ministers House involving the aedes mosquito. Like killing off its larvae. Or maybe the PM has made the mistake of waiting for winter to kill off the mosquito. Well, though we are at the fag end of the monsoon, and though there are signs that things are literally cooling down, we havent entered autumn yet, let alone winter. So the policy of wait-and-see doesnt seem such a good idea. I see Mumtaz Qadri has got the death sentence for killing Salman Taseer. Well, just a couple of points. First, a judges gotta do what a judges gotta do. And then, I suppose the family of the dead Governor must regard this as good news, but better news would be the release of Shehbaz Taseer. One would hope hes well, even if he was kidnapped before Eid. And pity the poor kidnappers, who have not only to feed and exercise their prisoner, but now have to protect him from the aedes mosquito. Anyway, the moral of the story of Mumtaz Qadri is that even if you have a gun, you cant use it to off governors. One hears that Governor Latif Khosa is paying particular attention to the case, having been a distinguished criminal lawyer, of course. But what motive does President Asif Zardari have for observing what happens in the case of Afghan ex-President Burhanuddin Rabbani. However, the President shouldnt worry. At least not until he too is an ex-President. And then its quite simple. Accept no visitors. But what does he do about dengue? Or rather the aedes mosquito? Presidents have immunity against prosecution, but not against disease, and ex-presidents have immunity against neither. One thing is not to come to Lahore, but what does he do about aedes mosquitoes who go to him in Nawabshah, or Larkana, or wherever he plans to spend his retirement? Apart, of course, from calling in a team of Sri Lankan doctors? (Or if he cant get doctors, I hear that Jayasuriya has made himself available in all cases of dengue where doctors are not coming. Not that hes a doctor, but hes against dengue.) So I suppose all one can do in this weather is prevent oneself from being bitten by mosquitoes. Thats a pretty tall order in this weather, but it should become easier a little way down the road. Of course, we may have fallen victim by then, so we cant afford just to wait. Kids have been back at school meanwhile, and I suppose the grounds have been sprayed, or else we parents would be a little like those of the poor kids who were killed on a school trip to Kallar Kahar. Somehow, you associate schools with safety. But the Kallar Kahar trip showed that schools too try to cut corners.