As if it wasn’t hard enough these days being a Muslim, militants have to add a frisson to Friday prayers. After the attack in Badaber, in which 36 persons were killed, the coming Eidul Azha should be accounted risky. The Eid is supposed to be bloody, I know, but it’s supposed to be animal blood not human.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the congregants had prepared to leave for the Village directly after, because no one would want to be in Badaber on Eid, especially not with a family. Badaber was the place from where Gary Powers famously flew his U2 spy plane over the USSR. That we gave the USA that base, in an era before satellite technology, was what helped us gain the title of ‘most allied ally’. Apparently, there isn’t anything at Badaber except a PAF school and residential quarters, and thus a mosque. One had been given the impression that the militants were on the run because of the devastation wreaked on them by Operation Zarb-e-Azb. It seems that the impression was a little exaggerated. It also seems that the militants don’t ask Mufti Muneeb for permission before launching an attack.

One wonders if they ask Kabul. According to the ISPR, the same people carried out the attack on the Army Public School Peshawar. Nine months down the road and those guys were not just roaming free, but were able to carry out another attack on a military target? The Chief of Army Staff should pay more attention to that than to inaugurating cadet colleges, especially when the prelude is being swathed in a vast yellow puggaree. I’m not sure he should wear that pug on top of a uniform. Something tells me it isn’t authorized headgear.

Of course, the COAS has got more important things to worry about than headgear. Or even attending funerals. After all, there’s been a sudden rash of speculation about his impending retirement. Well, it is due next year, and everyone thinks he should retire. Well, except General Musharraf, whose one regret would probably be not having clung to the COAS’ job for life, as Gen Ziaul Haq did. Well, I don’t agree that there is no replacement. I can tell you in advance, and without even knowing who the candidates are, that the incoming chief will be a thorough professional and a soldier’s soldier. Well, it would be very odd if a sloppy non-professional and a sailor’s airman became a corps commander, and we all know how excellent a system the Army has for promoting people.

When the Army selects people, it does not select people like Rana Mashhood, the Punjab Education Minister, whose corruption case is dragging on, who is now under NAB investigation. That has naturally led to the PTI calling for his resignation. In fact, the PTI is calling for the whole Punjab government to resign. It wants Punjab corruption treated as seriously as any corruption, like Dr Asim Hussain. Imran Khan has offered the party’s KP government for the same sort of investigation. His logic should demand that the KP government resign, lest it influence the investigation, but since when has logic bothered Imran? Remember, fast bowling doesn’t involve logic. Just speed. Like his saying bluntly that FATA should be part of KP. There’s actually a strong separate–province movement there, but does Imran care?

As much as he cares about the farmers’ relief package announced by the government, which he claims is a pre-election stunt. Note that he didn’t express any concerns about the money reaching poor farmers. A sign that there are those in PTI ranks who hope to get hold of that money.

Apart from the corruption charges against him, Rana Mashhood has got to handle the explosion by the parents against the schools, for their latest increase in fees. Well, the parents have a right to protest. But then, the teachers aren’t protesting, even if they are overworked and subjected to all sorts of shabby treatment, because if they do, they could get fired. Teachers are not going to get their increments, because the school owners are not allowed to increase their fees. The government is looking on, promising everything but doing the only thing that would improve the situation: make government schools a guarantee of a certain standard. Anyone wanting to run a private school would have to offer something more to justify the high fee. The government should worry. Because the next place that will face a crisis is the health sector, where the government needs to set standards, so that those regulate the private sector.

And while these crises brewed up, Mian Nawaz Sharif was inaugurating a tunnel on the KKH, bypassing the newly-formed Atabad Lake. Well, it wasn’t so much the KKH which was being restored, as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor being started. And that CPEC will mean that, for the first time ever, the Chinese will be across the Himalayas. Of course, that would give India nightmares, and drive them even closer to the Americans than before. Let’s see what they do in New York, whether they will meet Mian Nawaz, who is also going there to attend the UN General Assembly.