Would it be too brutal to mention the Budget when so many people were killed in a Lahore hospital? That was the same hospital where the Emergency was on strike for so many days. The attackers tried to take away one of their companions, who had been in the party which had attacked two Ahmedi places of worship, and so low is the credibility of the authorities, that despite the claims that they had taken away the attacker to a safe place, a lot of people believed that the attacker was duly rescued. True, the Budget didnt have a VAT, but only the promise, or rather threat, of one. However, for those whose near and dear ones died either at the places of worship last Friday, or the hospital on Monday, the absence of a VAT in Saturdays Budget probably made no difference. Anyway, its good to be Finance Minister on Budget Day. And Dr Hafeez Sheikh was sworn in the same day, so he probably became the only person to become Finance Minister on Budget Day. Its not as if it was a surprise, for he had been PMs Adviser ever since Shaukat Tarin resigned to look after his bank. Shaukat Tarin never got to present a Budget, because he was an Adviser at Budget time. But he did get to finalise an NFC Award, which is why he got to be a Minister in the first place. The Budget took place peacefully, which cant be said about hospitals, which were already pretty hectic places, what with patients dying mysteriously all the time, but now it seems that they have become firing ranges. People go to hospitals because theyre sick and want to get better, not because they want to be shot at. Which reminds me, the chappie who killed all those people in the UK must have been to Pakistan to receive training. Proof? None needed. None was ever needed before, so why start now? Hes not a Muslim? Then he deserves sympathy for being someone terribly mixed up. Unless he can be linked to Pakistan somehow, in which case death is too good for him. When the Budget came, cyclone Phet was approaching our coast. It might not have really hit, but the coastal areas have been having terrible rain. That is an impolite way of welcoming the Budget, but it seems to be the only way that Nature has. Perhaps it was apologising (in its own way) for not having intervened in the capture of the relief flotilla to the Gaza Strip, whose release seems to have solved the Palestinian problem. The whole flotilla was, according to the Israelis, a terror flotilla. The flotilla did not kill any Israeli sailors when boarded, and no arms were found. The only evidence needed to convince the world was the fact that two of the people on board were from Pakistan. Thats unfortunate, because while those who came back seem to have solved the Palestinian problem, though they didnt claim so, it did give the impression that Dr Sheikh presented the Budget with a Tommy-gun in one hand and a cigar in his mouth, with a derby two sizes too small somehow balanced on the back of his head. For the information of all concerned, no one died during the presentation of the Budget, and the increases in defence spending will be devoted to Pakistans enemies (are you listening, India?) and the War on Terror, not creating vacancies in the National Assembly to be filled at by-elections by people who have lied about their degrees and preferably have beaten up some doctors, just like Jamshed Dasti, who has proven his competence to legislate on the Budget. So long as they havent killed anyone there, which is a very terrorist thing to do, and invites the wrath of the Americans who, it must be stressed, are not engaged in a war on Islam, as they themselves have said as recently as in their policy statement at the start of last week. What Im waiting for after the Budget is the electricity bill, which will be coming in around the middle of the month, towards the end of this week. Even though Ive tried to save as much electricity as I could, I still expect a shocking bill, because the government must celebrate the Budget somehow, now that nature and cyclones have failed to cooperate. That the cyclone hit the Balochistan coast should give pause to all those who remember the cyclone that preceded the secession of East Pakistan? Which was also preceded by an election? Cyclones have never brought us any luck, and this one didnt even wreak any devastation.