Its been interesting, for where the PML (N) and the Pakistan Tehrike-Insaf have been going head-to-head in Lahore, with their rallies, the PPP has been off the scene. But I dont think the PPPs excuse is one that the other parties would enjoy having, the death of Begum Nusrat Bhutto. Begum Nusrat Bhutto illustrated perhaps more than anyone else why the PPP is seen as a Bhutto family party. After all, of the five Chairpersons or Co-Chair persons the PPP has had to date, apart from being an ex-Chairperson herself, she was closely related to all the rest, as wife (of the founder), mother, mother-in-law and maternal grandmother. But if we stay with the family then, she also saw not just her husband hanged, which was a grave shock, but also both her sons, and one of her two daughters killed. Any parent knows, even one to whom it hasnt happened, that the death of one child is unnatural enough to derail anyone. To have suffered so many losses is exceptional, and should happen at once in a road accident, not over so many years. If Mrs Bhutto was not in possession of all her faculties at the time of her death, the PPP doesnt need Alzheimers to prove their case, let alone the blows from a police lathi administered back in 1977, no less than 34 years ago. The loss of adult children and that too violently, is enough. It may have happened once upon a time, that one lost adult children, but that was before the discovery of antibiotics. Or the War on Terror. Im surprised that Mrs Bhuttos death was not ascribed either to dengue or the terrorists. The school holiday for Mrs Bhuttos death delighted the small fry, whose weekend it prolonged, and made of this weekend a kind of sandwich, for the coming weekend will be prolonged virtually to the next, by Eid. Be that as it may, the PPP found an excuse not to hold a rally in Lahore, taking the plea that it was not engaging in political activities in the mourning period. Actually, Mrs Bhutto died long after the PPP decided not to hold a rally in reply to the PML (N) show, which was aimed at many things, one of them being the removal of Zardari from office as President. Its difficult not to feel sorry for him. I mean, not only has he lost his father, and his mother-in-law this year, but he has also to bear the PML(N) campaign for his removal. Instead of a rally, the PPP seems to have replied through Dr Babar Awans press conference. Though Babar Awan criticized Mian Shahbazs singing, he didnt make any comparison with Altaf Hussains. Altaf may have set off an unfortunate fashion. Imagine Raja Riaz reciting Kalam-i-Iqbal. Imagine him going a step further, and doing the twist. Think of Imran Khan doing Disco Diwanay. Its a little like imagining John Travolta as American President. Well, no one really would have thought thats where Ronald Reagan would end up. Or Barack Obama, for that matter. Well, now that Michael Jackson is dead (and he would have made a great President had he lived), maybe Obama can be a Thriller now that he cant use the 'Change slogan again in his re-election. Babar Awan seemed to claim that all was for the best in the best of all worlds, and that anyone who objected to Zardari being President was going against the Constitution. I hope that people are paying attention to him, because he is the Presidents friend, just as much as Rehman Malik. Funny, how it seems that President Zardari has got such educated friends. Doctors, no less. I mean, Babar Awan has a doctorate in Law, awarded for academic reasons, not an honorary one like that that Dr Malik recently received from Karachi University, nor an MBBS like the one that Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, his old friend from the days together at Cadet College Petaro, has. Well, maybe Drs Awan, Malik and Mirza might be able collectively to persuade the President not to invest in a single white glove. But who is to stop Altaf from investing in uniforms, what with both Michael Jackson and Colonel Gaddafi now no longer with us, and the world thus facing a shortage of glamorous uniforms? But it was good to see the musicians who performed at the Imran Khan rally. At least they werent at the Shaukat Khanum Hospital, doing Terpsichorean therapy. Its good to see politicians borrowing from one another, and it seems the day is not far off when election campaigns, which end with rallies, will end with rock concerts, and politicians will be the ones with long hair, leather waistcoats without shirts, and parties will have names like the Grateful Dead United for Prosperity (election symbol: electric guitar). There will probably be a blurring of the lines that are artificially drawn nowadays between political reporting and musical criticism But whether politicians still point with pride and view with concern, or break into vigorous headbanging, some things never change. Such as our inexorable march towards winter. Well, we havent reached autumn yet, but well get there.