It seems Mian Nawaz Sharif hasn’t broken the habit of going to Imran Khan. I can still remember when Mian Nawaz, resplendent in a black safari suit, went to receive Imran Khan at the Lahore Airport, back in early 1987, when Imran was leading back the team from India after achieving a 1-0 win in the 6-Test series. Now, over a quarter century later, Mian Nawaz was again seeking out Imran, this time to condole over his fall, which has kept Imran in bed. I don’t suppose Imran was surprised to see Mian Nawaz having more hair now than then. After all, he has the example of Aleem Khan before him to tell him what hair transplants are all about.

That was a long time ago, with even the World Cup unwon, and the Shaukat Khanum Hospital unbuilt, while Mian Nawaz had not been Prime Minister even once, let alone thrice. But he was Punjab Chief Minister. Well, Imran was Captain of Pakistan, and apart from playing, Mian Nawaz was cricket fan enough to want to meet the winning team himself. I wonder if Imran at that time had decided to go into politics? It must have been in his mind, though it would be a decade before he got going.

Has Imran peaked? I don’t know, but considering that the PPP has not done the needful, I don’t think so. Imran has had one effect: resignations all round. It has now become a ritual after every World Cup: losing captains (which means all but the winner) resign, almost like Japanese party leaders or company chief executives committing hara-kiri after getting caught in a slip-up. In the same way, the ANP and the PPP have seen the elections followed by resignations. In the PPP, it has been the Punjab leadership, as well as the Governor, and the KP President. In the ANP, it has been the Central President. Of course, even though his own personal representative, the Governor, and his personal nominee as Punjab President, not to mention the head of an allied party, resigned, the President will not resign. Not him, nor the MQM chief. Apart from their alliance, they have this too in common: their limpet-like desire to hang on to office. Of course, this would only be in the greater public interest.

However, while these resignations have been in the greater public interest, there have been other meetings. If Nawaz met Imran, he also met COAS Gen Kiyani, who must have talked about issues of national interest, like his predecessor, and why it was Mian Nawaz’s fault he did what he did, and why he shouldn’t be tried for high treason.

That was perhaps just a meeting for Mian Nawaz, less necessary than the ones with the independent MNAs, who have suddenly discovered that they want the same things for the county as the PML (N). Well, Mian Nawaz has known all along, and is about to become, through them, the first person to become Prime Minister after having been ousted by military rule.

Well, as before, he is faced with a tremendous power crisis. Then it was the financial mess the IPPs were creating. Now, it is both the financial mess and the loadshedding. Loadshedding has been as bad as ever, but the weather has not. However, no government can hope to go for the full five years and enjoy freak weather each year. And it isn’t very freak weather. It isn’t snowing here, is it?

Meanwhile Imran is not meeting the COAS, a meeting which will have to happen after some other election, when Imran is about to form the next government. Then too he will have to be told what the national interest is. Like allowing drone strikes. Meanwhile, Imran has claimed that the murder of PTI Sindh Vice President Zahra Shahid Hussain was at the behest of MQM chief Altaf Hussain. Clearly Imran doesn’t have much love lost for Altaf, even though he is a bona fide expat, complete with naturalisation. Altaf has been in trouble with the UK authorities for supposed hate speech, committed in the same speech where he called for the break-up of Sindh, if the MQM mandate wasn’t accepted. He has boycotted the repoll in Karachi, as has the PPP. The PTI win was expected, but can it afford to lose a provincial vice-president for every seat it wins?

Meanwhile, I suppose no one had any bets riding on the IPL matches, where Sreesanth has been caught out trying to make the game even more attractive. Mentioning Imran and betting is likely to anger PTI enthusiasts, but how else can cricket promoters spread the game to China? And besides, cricketing has an old gambling tradition, going back to the 18th century, when Test cricket was not even thought of, and the USA was the place one would have thought cricket would develop, around Philadelphia.