One of the bigger surprises we have had, though weve gone through the usual muggy preparation, is of the monsoon, which has been earlier than usual, and for which weve not been prepared, even though weve known that it will come this year too, as in past years. So if we couldnt predict the monsoon, perhaps we shouldnt blame the government too much for not predicting the MQMs departure. Now it begins to make sense why the PPP was so anxious for the PML(Q) to join it, for without the PML (Q)s numbers, an MQM resignation now would have meant the collapse of the government. But then, perhaps the collapse of the government would not have suited the MQM, and thus it might have not resigned, allowing the present lot of ministers to do what they want most and continue in office. Anyhow, we have a government, and an elected one at that, and as we are endlessly told, we are not governed by the military. It would have been appropriate if the government had collapsed, in this weather of house collapses, but it didnt. We should be also grateful to the present government for lowering the petrol price, and anyone asking who was in government when petrol went up to where it is, should either be told that it was someone else, or no prices have gone up. As for what is going on in Shamsi airbase, I dont really know. I think only Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan knows, and other members of the DCC. There is some indication that Shamsi is not being used any more, but then some other base is. After all, Drones keep on striking, and Pakistanis keep dying. So long as Pakistanis keep dying, we will know that the War on Terror is being fought successfully, but as soon as they stop, then we should know that the world is not safe for Americans like Raymond Davis. One sees that despite all thats happened, weve repaired our relationship with the Americans, which probably means that if weve thrown them out on their ear from Shamsi, weve probably given them an alternative. But then, have the MQM left the government because of Shamsi airbase, because its ministers were no longer willing to serve with the Defence Minister who did the talking about the airbase, Ch Ahmad Mukhtar? Im surprised he didnt say that he couldnt talk about the matter because it involved atomic installations. What atomic installations? The puzzled reader asks. Well, that would explain the previous silence. And anyway, the USA is probably privy to all our nuclear secrets. Does anyone remember when Zia was given inside photographs of a sensitive installation by the American ambassador, as evidence of our nuclear enrichment? Well, the scientist who took those photos is probably in an honourable retirement, but why should we assume that where our political and military leaders are in the forefront, our nuclear scientists are behind? Be that as it may, perhaps the government is trying to placate the masses by bringing down fuel prices. But then its raising gas and electricity tariffs. Just as there has been the least bit of a break in the weather, and the government response has been to increase the price of the electricity that keeps us in the plains anyhow. No prizes for those who remember the time when everyone, including the government, used to spend summer in a hill station. That was the time when Murree was the summer capital of the Punjab, and Simla of India. Then came air conditioning, and the rest is history. However, if people cant afford even fans, let alone airconditioning, wouldnt they perspire a lot in this weather? Remember, climate is a broad-brush description, as in, we have a monsoonal climate. But then we have monsoonal weather, which means that there are spells of mugginess interspersed by rains. And we sweat a lot. The sweat dries, and the resulting smell is washed off. Oh sorry, we dont have water, do we? Lahore during the monsoon reminds me of Coleridges Ancient Mariner. You know, 'Water, water, everywhere, and nary a drop to drink. Mian Shahbaz has been making great efforts stop rainwater making a mess of Lahore, but these efforts are now becoming part of the annual monsoon ritual. But weve got a government that is so considerate that it has already prepared, in summer, during the monsoon no less, a plan for gas loadshedding in winter, which will ensure that a stroll down Lahores streets will be impossible without a gas mask. That will be the time when we will know that the War on Terror has been won. For if people cannot describe the natives as the 'Great Unwashed, then how can one distinguish between the rulers and the ruled. Not only must the rulers be fairer than the natives, but they should be immediately distinguishable by their smell. Or rather lack of it. Im a little surprised at all the soaps being advertised these days. Dont the manufacturers know that it will be pointless from this winter?