The burial of the victims of the Quetta blast was not accompanied by the fall of the government there, as it was last month, when the Raisani government was dismissed. That was perhaps because this time, the government was the central government, which had taken over the government, with the Governor heading it merely as the agent of the President. If the government was to come down, then the Governor’s appointing authority would have to be brought down, which is the federal government.

In fact, though Governor Magsi was the most prominent because he retained office, he was not the only Governor in the news. Another was Sindh’s Ishratul Ibad, about whom there was an embarrassing crescendo of questions as to why his resignation had not reached the President, after the MQM Sindh ministers had resigned. Well, the MQM’s federal ministers seem to have vowed to stick to office from till the last, as if the option of resigning had been left out of the Constitution.

It’s an interesting thing, but the PPP doesn’t seem to have enough people to be governors. While Masood Kausar held office in the KPK, he was the only person holding gubernatorial office who had belonged to the PPP. Makhdum Ahmad Mahmood of Punjab, Magsi, Ibad and Engineer Shaukatullah of KPK had all spent their political careers in other (or no) parties.  Of course, so long as Latif Khosa had held office Governor House Lahore had been one more place jialas had felt offended by being kept out of (they’re always kept out, the only difference is that if there’s a PPP incumbent, they feel offended). Jialas are fated to be kept out, unless there’s some cake that needs rubbing into somebody’s hair.

Of course, Magsi had identified an intelligence failure as responsible for the second blast.  Well, it should be obvious that the intelligence agencies can only do so many things at the same time, so perhaps things slip under the net. Last week, they arrested Saad Jigranvi of the Hizbut Tahrir in Rawalpindi (some days after the blasts), so they couldn’t very well concentrate on Quetta? How many people had Jigranvi killed? Or even the Hizb? Well… none. But it’s a banned party. Banned under Musharraf, along with the Lashkar-i-Jhanvgvi, whose chief, Hafiz Ishaq, was arrested in connection with the Quetta blasts. The Hizb itself believes that the blasts are linked to the USA, and that Raymond Davis types are responsible. That was what a press release said. It’s funny that they arrested Jigranvi again, after he had been released on bail after his last arrest. And it must not be forgotten that the Hizb spokesman, Naveed Butt, still remains arrested, with not even the charges against him made public. Forget about his trial starting.

Anyway, it’s probably not important, not unless you’re related to either Naveed Butt or Saad Jigranvi.  One of the consequences of the Quetta blasts was that protesters shut down Lahore’s traffic, and the Metro Bus System had to be shut down. That was because the protesters tried to stage sit-ins at the stations. I see that a combination of the wearing off of the novelty, and the introduction of fares, has led to a reduction in the number of passengers, but it is still a very rough experience. Buses which could compete have been rerouted, except for one, but once the Metro is expanded to reach across to Chauburji, even that will probably be brushed aside.

I’m reminded of the Paris Metro, which is underground, but consists of buses, not trains. And then there are some cities, like New York, which run the peripheries of their undergrounds overground, on the surface. So Lahore has got a fusion of both concepts, with the Metro being run in the middle of the city, and leading to the old octroi post at Mozang, with the post only remaining in the name, Chungi. It’s perhaps too much to expect the cancellation of the old wagon routes, but while the Ferozepur Road is still a menace, without side roads or traffic lights, one doesn’t see wagons racing. In fact, one doesn’t see wagons at all. That is some compensation for the science fiction look of it all, with the Metro Bus up above, and us down below.

And then there has been the rain, which makes for a singularly wet February.  I wonder where global warming has gone? Well, the light has been going less. I’m all for it, but if the government hopes for some electoral benefit, they should remember that elections will take place at the start of the heat, and I’m sure they don’t want voters arriving at the polling stations all hot and bothered, having said uncomplimentary things about the government all the way to the polling station.