The central question that Lahorites faced, and still face, is one that comes every year, and inevitably passes away, and has to do with the arrival of the hot weather, which is the true summer. Not just the ordinary hot weather, but the broiling hot weather, which is so hot that it knocks the breath out of anyone who passes through it. That finally arrived in Lahore, towards the end of June, and made life interesting at last. But this heat is supposed to be a precursor of the monsoons, because while it bakes the plains that make up most of Pakistan, it also melts the glaciers at the beginning of the Indus, and thus send water into our rivers. This year, that was delayed, because of global warming, this will result in the loss of a large number of island nations, which will just disappear beneath the waves, as well as some of our coasts, along with the port cities that adorn them. Like Karachi. And possibly Gwadar, being built at such expense, not just monetary, but also to the fabric of the federation. But the drowning of cities is in the future, and nowadays we face the summer, or rather the hot weather. This is the season of forgetting all national problems, like the War on Terror, except for loadshedding, which keeps on reminding us that we belong to the Third World. In the opinion of all of the protesters last week in Lahore, these reminders are not needed. If you keep shop in a congested market in Lahore already, you are uncomfortable enough at the height of summer even with the fan on, to remind you that you live in the Third World, and you dont need any of the Warriors on Terror who were in Islamabad last week to tell you that, like the Homeland Security Secretary and the CENTCOM chief, you dont need the power to go off. And when the monthly power bills go out, expect more protests, as people say that they dont so much mind the loadshedding, as having to pay electricity bills even though they dont get any electricity. Or at least have electricity cut off whenever Wapda wants. Im not talking now of small shops, where ventilation is a problem, let alone cooling, but room coolers have been effective this hot weather. At least in houses, and have prevented us from having to use air conditioners. This has not kept the bill down, but has prevented it from going where the greedy fellows at Wapda and the IMF would want it, through the roof. But maybe the only way left of dealing with Wapda is the protest. If nothing else, at least this way their offices get identified. Or at least LESCO offices, which are not the same as Wapda, which now comes under Pepco. (Or does Pepco come under Wapda? And does it matter with the electricity supply what it is?) There are a lot of initials flying around, like DISCO and GENCO, but is there a spare MW of power to spare? Not this summer, it seems, not with the Tarbela breakdown. And not in the summers to come, nor the winters, soon enough. Or rather, already. Last week, this space talked about the 1980s. Well, I left out one thing. Loadshedding was a 1980s coinage, to talk about a 1980s phenomenon. That was when we experienced power cuts according to a schedule for the first time, even in winter, and when candles and lanterns came back into fashion, along with Michael Jackson and the Farrah Fawcett Majors layered hairstyle. Loadshedding makes for a lot of sweat, and I suppose among Wapda staff with more than 25 years service or thereabouts, who must be nostalgic about those good old days. For those of us civilians who have lived through both, both were bad, and if that made us forget about the Jihad against the Soviets, this has made us forget about the War on Terror. Well, not entirely. The Lahore High Court has made senior police officials vulnerable once more to terrorists by ordering the end of road blockages. Well, so far, the top cops of the province and the city are still alive, even though the law officers had told the learned court that their lives were at risk. Well, if we lose the War on Terror, though that is of course not an option, we will have the relief of knowing whom to blame. And where War is concerned, that is a great relief. After all, the US armed forces still dont know on whom to blame the Vietnam War, except that it wasnt them, just like 1971 and East Pakistan had nothing to do with the Pakistan Army, which has been uniformly victorious in all its wars, including those of 1958, 1969, 1977 and 1999. Another thing has been very timely, and connected to the War: the fireworks display on the Fourth of July, which is the American Independence Day. Well, there are fireworks in Afghanistan, where the US has launched a big offensive to coincide with their national day. Not that the offensive will make any difference to the loadshedding over here. And the offensive will not make any difference to that other sign of belonging in the Third World, the hike in fuel prices, which has also fuelled the electricity protests. No one has got much knowledge of how much fuel is being burned by the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how that has contributed to the price hike. That cost of the War has not been counted. Because we pay.