One of the main events in life last week was the rain. I know there’s supposed to be rain at this time of the year. I mean, that’s why they’re called spring rains. April is just the right time to have rains that are not summer rains. However, they provided the same sort of break that summer rains are supposed to, that of cooling the weather down, rather than the winter one of providing more cold. Incidentally, not only did these rains provide a break from rising temperatures and a sudden chill in the weather, but also an opportunity for mosquitoes to re-emerge. Mosquitoes no longer provoke fears of malaria, but of dengue, with the epidemic last year breaking all records. Different diseases, different mosquitoes. However, they’re both mosquitoes, and they both come back in the same season. Are we ready this year? I hope so, or a lot of people could end up dead.

We in the plains might be enjoying the break in the inexorable climb of the mercury we witnessed before the rain, but perhaps we should spare a thought for the avalanches the same weather means for the people in the high mountains, who have to live through the avalanches that occur. Last week, in the avalanche at a battalion headquarters in Siachen, 137 soldiers of the same battalion were trapped, and though rescue efforts went on throughout the week, no one has been found yet, and it seems that no one will be found alive. Indeed, if anyone is now, it will be a miracle. I mean, even the COAS has been, and no one was found. That means something, doesn’t it?

And how did the government help? By approving the re-opening of the NATO supply routes, and by expanding the Cabinet. The NATO supply routes were re-opened by the joint sitting, and conditions were imposed, but they will be ignored by the Americans, and then by the government, as the land routes are restored. If I’m not mistaken, we should hear the government saying that the supplies will be restored ‘with immediate effect’ while the conditions will be fulfilled ‘in due course’ (which is bureaucratese for ‘never’).

However, that will not bother the present government, especially not in its new expanded form. Either inclusion was a reward for having helped the joint sitting reach the result it did, or not. It’s interesting to see that some old faces, like raja Pervez Ashraf, recently found by the Supreme Court to be one of those responsible for the RPPs, is one of those retuning. It seems that all of that foot-stamping during the President’s speech, and whistling with fingers in mouth, has finally borne fruit.

However, if you were to talk to ministers, both old and new, I’m sure they will all say that their holding office will prove the fruitfulness of democracy, and thus the avalanche will also constitute a tribute to democracy.

However, there is one way in which old ministers are superior to new ones: just before the expansion, the ministers got the privilege of expressing support for the Prime Minister’s son. Who is to explain to the Supreme Court what part he played in the sending to Australia of medicine containing ephedrine. The Prime Minister’s son, who recently was elected an MNA, had sudden and very urgent business in South Africa, where he went as soon as the Supreme Court issued him notice. The Prime Minister’s sons have not been convicted of any crimes, but his other son was mentioned in connection with the Haj scam, and one of his staff was accused of being involved in something shady. But the Prime Minister is not involved. He’s probably too busy getting the Seraiki province through.

Another thing that he should be busy with, but isn’t, is getting Hafiz Saeed’s reward. After all, the Americans are not just putting up foreign exchange, but US dollars, for him, and who better a person to get it than our poor harried PM, who has got to bear the legal expenses of not just his son, but his own, him being an accused in a contempt case in the Supreme Court.

I’m not able to show the requisite concern about this, what with the overhead bridge over the Canal still being built. I don’t know for sure what is the Ferozepur Road, with the part I travel on now in the sky, but the shops still down below. I will have my traveling time cut drastically by the new overhead, but it has been a hard year, for first there was the Ferozepur Road overhead bridge last year, and now this. After a year of trafficjams and road uncertainty, it seems I’ll spend less of my life getting to office than I used to. Oh well, I suppose something to look forward to. Though I feel sorry for those who shop in Ichhra. I don’t, but She Whose Word Is Law does. So in a sense so do I. If there’s anything done for the shoppers, rest assured it will be because someone influential on the planning team has female relatives who shop there.