THERE has been apparently little enough happening in this City. The Young Doctors have not had their problems solved. Indeed, the head of the Young Doctors Association has not had his problems solved, which would necessitate being put on the road to a principalship, going by past precedent. But the Punjab government has not been left behind, and if the federal government has inducted a number of new ministers, the Punjab has inducted 34 parliamentary secretaries, and has announced that there will be a future expansion of the Punjab Cabinet, with the PPP getting its due share, just as it got in the case of the parliamentary secretaries. The PPP is a combination of two strands. One is the strand of sacrifice and struggle, the other is the strand of scrambling for office. Since those who sacrifice are usually not those who fight elections for the party, they usually end up not getting elected. And thus they are never put in the position of refusing office. But the elected PPP members are about as hungry for office as anyone in the PML-Q, which was created on this basis, and the greatest betrayal of its members and ticket-holders has not been ideological, but its loss in last year's elections. The only thing that can put the smile back on the faces of the PML-Q members is the prospect of office. The PPP is following in the footsteps of the PML-N, which started off as a sort of PML-Q, coming into existence after partyless elections, and turning into a vehicle for Mian Nawaz Sharif. But when Mian Nawaz was ousted, those who held to the original ideals of the party went into the PML-Q. In the same way, the PPP has been penetrated by those who feel that the PPP ticket is their ticket to being an assembly member, which is apparently the basic qualification for ministerial office. (Apparently, because Rehman Malik and Manzoor Wattoo hold ministerial office, at the Centre no less, but are not Assembly members, it is not an essential qualification, but it helps. Mahmood Ali Durrani would have been mentioned, but now he is just another retired brigadier. Like the former sun and the moon of the PML-Q, whom it vowed to elect president in uniform again and again, is now just a retired general.) It appears that the Centre and the Punjab are about to enter another stage of competition, as to which will have more ministers. That will be the gross part of the competition, but the really fine part will be the splitting of portfolios. The Health Ministry. For example, can be profitably split into separate ministries for doctors, nurses, dispensers and wardboys, not to mention drug companies and blood pressure apparatuses, each with its own minister, minister of state, standing committee chairmen (in both Houses of Parliament) and secretary, deputy secretaries, joint secretaries, additional secretaries and section officers. This would naturally have to be reflected in the provinces, particularly where there were coalitions, and one or more parties were hungering for office. The bureaucracy would be all for it, as the number of posts would increase. Anyone noticed that no one is now talking about the right size of government, and how the number of ministries should be decreased? Even though there's an economic crisis on? What will happen to all these ministries if the PML-Q makes it back where its members want it to be, in office? Well, the PML-N would vacate a lot of ministries, which would then be easily filled. But what if the PML-N members went, but not their ministers, who took office after such efforts? The PML-Q would insist on the splitting of ministries, so that they could be accommodated. Or else what is the point of life without a ministry? Or rather a ministerial car, with a waving flag and a police escort? That, and a lot of flunkies when the minister enters the ministry? Someone should note how the goalposts are being moved. Once upon a time, assembly membership was supposed to be quite enough. But now it is a ministry. That is probably why the number of ministers has increased, because of the pressure from important people no longer willing to remain mere members. And the unfortunate thing is that all the parties, including those outside Parliament, are in this. But none of the parties have helped the state establish its writ in Swat where it seems the best way of challenging it seems to be to blow up a school. Now that private schools are finished, the government schools are the target. But no doubt there's somebody who's perfectly willing to be appointed PM's Adviser on Blown-Up Schools. He would take a better portfolio if and when available, but is so anxious to be part of the team that he would accept this portfolio if no other was available. And if this is not available, how about good old Without Portfolio? Surely there is no limit on that?