It’s funny, but though both Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif have taken oath, respectively as Prime Minister and Chief Minister, loadshedding has not come to an end. It has been repeated time and again that they have both taken oath for the third time, but it is not often mentioned that it is only the second time that they have taken oath together. Look, the first time Mian Nawaz became PM Mian Shahbaz was not elected Chief Minister. In fact, back in 1990, he became an MNA, having been an MPA for the first time in 1988. He became an MNA this time too, but stayed back to become Chief Minister a third time. He can claim, along with Qaim Ali Shah of Sindh, the distinction of having been re-elected Chief Minister. The only other example since 1985 is none other than Mian Nawaz himself, who was re-elected Chief Minister in 1988. Of course, though Mian Nawaz was the first example, he wasn’t the only, the other being Aftab Sherpao, who became NWFP Chief Minister in 1988 and 1993. In fact, whenever Benazir Bhutto became Prime Minister. She was killed in 2007, but if she had returned to power, Sherpao wouldn’t have been her NWFP Chief Minister, because he had already separated off to form the PPP (Sherpao). As the Watan Party, it is now part of the KP ruling coalition. So Aftab Sherpao is back in control of Sherpao village’s SHO and patwari. And though the Chief Minister, Pervez Khattak, belongs to the Tehrik Insaf, he’s an old PPP hand, and had Sherpao as his provincial president once upon a time.

I see, as everyone else did, that neither Mian Nawaz nor Mian Shahbazwore a Jinaah cap at this oath-taking. Did they assume that it proved unlucky the last time they did so, back in 1997? After all, that tenure ended in Martial Law, but does the fact that their father, Mian Sharif is no more, have anything to do with it? The Jinnah caps they wore certainly looked like ones he might have acquired, because they looked, from their almost painful thin-ness, likethe ones that came into fashion under President Ayub Khan, who tried to set a personal example to persuade people to follow suit. Or maybe the Jinnah caps were not around this time because the brothers wanted to show off their flowing locks, which they didn’t have the last time.

I hope those caps have nothing to do with loadshedding. I know Jinnah caps are great, but what do they have to do with electricity? Especially Jinnah caps which are not worn? But since Kh Asif didn’t wear a Jinnah cap at his oath taking (as a member of the Nawaz Cabinet), I suppose there’s no real link. After all, Kh Asif has taken over the most poisoned chalice inPakistan’s history, the Water and Power Ministry. Now if Mian Nawaz was removed by the Supreme Court, would Kh Asif become Prime Minister? Raja Pervez was a predecessor who did, but whether Kh Asif tries his method, the RPPs, castigated by the Asian Development Bank, or that of his successor, Syed Naveed Qamar (sleeping), I don’t think it would lead to PM House, which is these days empty. As a matter of fact, I don’t think that that particular route will reopen itself, because Mian Nawaz has no prejudice against writing letters, especially against Asif Zardari. He doesn’t claim to get unaccountable cramps in his fingers while trying to do so.

However, perhaps more important will be whether he can get rid of loadshedding. Yet perhaps more important than that is whether he can stop the humiliation of our young people. I saw a few on TV, caught cheating in the board exam. Not only do we give them a crippling education system, not only do we put pressure on them to get maximum marks, not only do we put them in competition with their near ones and contemporaries like elder brothers or cousins, we put them on TV if they fall prey to the many temptations of cheating. I’m not defending cheating. But I can’t forget the late Rana Phool Muhammad (father of the present Punjab Speaker) arguing against a bill criminalising exam cheating, that no one would marry the girls convicted under it because of their record.

Of course, that does not mean letting off all criminals because they are young. That means young-on-young crime would be decriminalized. I’m sure that’s what the relatives of Siraj Talpur and Shahrukh Jatoi would have liked, but they still got death sentences for the murder of Shahzeb Khan. This was a case that had convulsed Karachi. I wonder if Shahrukh Jatoi’s mouthpiece’s emphasis on the age of his client was meant to avert the death penalty, or to prove that Shahrukh wasn’t born when the murder took place?

Look, killing people is worse than cheating in exams. But if you don’t give young people jobs or chances to earn a living, and you make them live without light or fans, what do you expect them to do? Rana Phool has passed to his heavenly reward, but he has left behind his son to answer this question.