In principle, I suppose, these notes should be a yearender. I mean, after all, their being written on the first day of the New Year, and published on its second, would seem to demand that sort of treatment. However, I have an excuse and a reason for not doing so. The excuse is that we Muslims don’t follow this particular year, which is now European, was once Roman, and is solar, as opposed to the Hijra year, which we Muslims follow, which is lunar. The reason is that historians have given up on years and eras. Though years are still their bread-and-butter, to the extent that they are finicky about when something happened, like the Partition of the Subcontinent happened on 14 August 1947, not 13 July 1946 or 15 September 1948, they are not too happy about assigning years to eras, which they had once done with such gusto. And since journalism is the instant history in this era of instant coffee, instant pictures and instant gratification, we newshounds have to go along with this.

However, 2011 was something of a watershed year, for Pakistan as well as the world around it. I mean, any year in which Osama bin Laden was killed was going to be a place to pause for future historians, and 2011 was it. It was also the year that Muammar Gaddafi was not just removed from power, but also killed. Zine Alabidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt were not killed, both having survived the year alive, but were both removed from power. From Pakistan’s point of view, this was the year of Memogate, and while it has not caused the President’s fall, it might. So is 2011 the year Mansoor Ijaz became famous or Imran Khan? Well, Mansoor Ijaz, because Imran was already famous, but if 2014 (or whenever election year is) is to be the year he got into office, then 2011 is the year he became credible.

This is also the year he gained ‘electable’ support, in the shape of electable support, like the former foreign ministers, Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Khurshid Kasuri, as well as Javed Hashmi, and other South Punjab politicians like Jahangir Tareen, Ishaq Khakwani and Sikandar Hayat Bosan. Even in the last week of the year, he was joined by Inamullah and Najibullah Niazi. Not only are they Imran’s first cousins, but their brother Hafeezullah is married to one of Imran’s sisters. However, if indeed he is elected, no one will mention 2011 as the year he began his takeoff. Or should I say run-up?

It was good to see he had got Air Marshal Asghar Khan in his party. I mean, the Air Marshal must hold the record for holding the title of ‘Next PM’, and never making it, not even as a caretaker. But now Imran  holds the title, and let’s see if he can make it either to the job or the record. The job will be up for grabs several times more before the record is broken.

But not just Imran and Inamullah have raised the profile of Mianwali, so did the death of Amir Hayat Rokri. He too had a cricket connection, not as glamorous as Imran’s, but still a worthy one. As LCCA  President. He was the son of Amir Abdullah Rokri, and the cousin and brother-in-law of Gul Hameed Rokri. Gul Hameed had been a minister in the Nawaz Cabinet, and his son, Amir Hayat’s nephew Humair, had been the first district nazim of Mianwali.

2011 is also the year Asif Ali Zardari got sick. Actually, he got worse, for if it is even now a point of dispute whether he had a heart problem or a stroke the point is that it was something cardiovascular, and that never happens overnight. It takes years and years, and that’s why diet an exercise and heredity and whether or not you smoke, always matter. And since his father Hakim Ali died of a brain haemorrhage, it seems that there’s as hereditary factor. Which means son Bilawal should lay off the pastries, and get jogging, or exercising, or however else he takes his exercise. We don’t know what Bilawal inherited from his mother, because most of his maternal side got killed. Staying with the President, the Memogate reached the commission stage before the year was out, and this time, there was no delay. Whatever the result of the case, it will happen in 2012. And 2012 is when Senate elections are scheduled, so if there is to be a system wrap-up, which happened so many times in previous years, it ha better be soon. Of course, it might be kept in mind that when the system if really wrapped up, the whole Senate goes, not just half as happens every three years.

Anyhow, let’s not be pessimistic, and let us resolve that 2012 will be known as an election year, or an ordinary year, not a wrap-up year. One of the rituals of the New Year is making resolutions. Let’s make a resolution to make this a constitutional year. And if we’re making resolutions, let’s make another not to make fools of ourselves on The Mall next New Year’s night. And can any year that started the way this one did, with has and petrol prices jacked up, and CNG stations shut down, be a good one?