I’m not sure how Imran Khan planned it, but I very much doubt that he intended to hold his rally at the Minar-e-Pakistan with there being no agreement on either the federal or Punjab caretakers. The matter of the federal caretaker Prime Minister has gone to the Election Commission, which picked Mr Justice (retd) Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, as it will the caretaker Punjab Chief Minister. Imran Khan probably wanted to resonate with the actual anniversary of the Lahore Resolution. However, while those in 1940 resolved to create a nation where there had been none before, the high point of the Tehrik-i-Insaf rally turned out to be Aleem Khan’s hair transplant. Aleem Khan was cleansed of all his sins when he jumped from the PML(Q) to the Tehrik-i-Insaf. Remember Aleem Khan when he tried the distinguished look as one of Pervaiz Elahi’s ministers while bald as an egg? One presumes he has had a hair transplant now because he wants to remain within his promise not to benefit from office. No one can claim he had the hair transplant on official expense, because it took place even before the election was held.  Well, even though he had a more dome-like head than the Sharif brothers, he had a more thorough transplant done, and while they have lessened their lack of hair, he has had a full job done, and looks positively hirsute.

Another thing emerging from the rally is that rainwater doesn’t dissolve transplants. Which was probably why Aleem Khan didn’t scurry for cover while Imran Khan displayed every sign of enjoying the rain. Imran might be the choice of the younger generation, but he shouldn’t forget that he turns 60 this November, and this rain, that of winter turning to spring, can’t be good for him, and could cause the sort of pneumonia that carries away people of that age. He is no longer of an age that can take risks with the rain. Well, with a Chief Election Commissioner who is 85, and a caretaker PM who is 84, someone who is a mere 59 should be the ‘youth candidate.’

Nor is he really of an age to get his name on anunderpass. While travelling under our newly named underpasses, I noticed that there were quite a few writers, like Waris Shah and Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, but one former judge, a Chief Justice of Pakistan in fact Mr Justice A.R. Cornelius. Well, he was a longtime resident of Lahore, where he settled after retiring, in a room at the old Faletti’s Hotel. Though a Madrasi Christian, he opted for Pakistan, entering the judiciary as a CSP officer. Another Christian to become a judge of the Supreme Court was Mr Justice Constantine. Chief Justice Cornelius died some time ago, so he was not around to see the arson at Badami Bagh. I wonder if he would appreciate the irony of a Joseph Colony being burnt in the same city as the Cornelius underpass. Well, Imran is not a judge, and though he built his cancer hospital in this city, politicians are kept off the list. The Quaid (Mall Road and Bagh-i-Jinnah) and Allama Iqbal (Iqbal Town) are exceptions, and the Quaid also stayed at Falletti’s, while the Allama is buried here, apart from having his house here: Javed Manzil, on what is now Iqbal Road (renamed from Mayo Road, named after the only Viceroy to have been assassinated).

Besides, I don’t know if someone who scents power in the next election will like the idea of having even a district named after him. In fact, especially a district, as Benazir Bhutto did. That was Nawabshah, which was named after her by her husband, in place of building a Taj Mahal. Well, Imran will be building no Taj Mahals now, will he?

But even for literary figures, how much of an association with Lahore did Waris Shah or Shah Latif Bhitai have? Conceivably, Waris Shah may have visited Lahore fromJandiala Sher Khan, where his mazar is, and where he is supposed to have written his Heer Ranjha, which is so famous that it has overshadowed all the other versions of that epic. However, Shah Latif is not mentioned as having even visited Lahore. Certainly, neither has the sort of association with Lahore that Ashfaque Ahmad had. He was from Hoshiarpur district in undivided India, like Munir Niazi, another litterateur from that district, but like him settled after Partition in Lahore. The underpass named after him, under Ferozepur Road leading to Model Town, also leads to his home here.

However, Imran Khan should notice that not only are political figures omitted, but so are sportsmen. He has had an enclosure named after him at the Gaddafi Stadium, and that should be enough. So the rally was about three things. Imran coming to power at last, and his staying out in the rain instead of letting it stop play. The third thing? Aleem Khan’s full head of hair, what else?

Well, maybe the rally was meant as part of a grand conspiracy todraw away attention from the President. No, not from the kan-toap he inflicted on the unsuspecting citizens of Turkmenistan, but on his having given up the party co-Chairmanship he assumed five years ago, after his wife was assassinated.

One of the accused in that case, Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, has returned just in time for the elections, and on bail, thereby proving that a commando can do anything, even get bail. The President should be worried, for his term expires in September, and a replacement has already landed.