The saga of these Senate elections may well have started with the swearing in of Baldev Kumar as the PTI minority KP MPA, in place of Soaran Singh, who had been murdered last year. There had been allegations swirling around Baldev that he had been involved in the murder, with a video by Soaran’s son doing the rounds and repeating the allegation. Baldev had been bailed by the Peshawar High Court, but the grieved son said that Baldev had been invited to take oath only after he had promised the Chief Minister that he would vote for the party’s Senate candidates.

However, the oath-taking had caused resentment, and it was a PTI MPA who had flung a shoe at Baldev. This reminded one of the shoes flung at George Bush Jr, but the most recent and nearest example was the shoe flung at Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal at a rally in his native Narowal. The PTI seemed in two minds over the KP shoe-flinging. The temptation must have been great to claim that it was simply an attempt by the PML(N) to take revenge. The PTI seems to have been caught in two minds over whether to blame Nawaz or Shehbaz for suborning its MPA. It also doesn’t know whether to blame Ch Nisar for flinging the shoe at Ahsan Iqbal or not. No one knows whether Nisar was even in Narowal or not. More to the PTI’s concern, what effect would the accusation have on Ch Nisar’s joining the PTI?

While the MQM was not flinging any shoes, or even gunning down any leaders, it was busy with the Senate elections. And the whole split in the MQMP between the PIB Colony and Bahadurabad groups ended with a single list of candidates, which included the person over whom the split happened, Khalid Tessori. The MQM has set a number of trends in politics, including naming groups after geographical entities, not persons. The original split was between Pakistan and London. Not Altaf Hussain and Farooq Sattar. And the Pakistan Group split between Bahadurabad and PIB Colony, not Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Sattar. So maybe the next split will be between 205-B and 206-B (Ninety, the famous MQM Secretariat in Azizabad, has already entered the political vocabulary). 205-B will then proceed to split into groups known as the Bathroom and the Kitchen. Then the Bathroom Group will split into the Pot and Sink Groups. And we will draw a curtain over what the Pot Group will split into. This is a family newspaper, after all.

And Tessori still lost. He lost a provincial by-election before, which makes him basically bad news for the party. If he was given the safest of seats in the KMC, he might still lose. The PTI’s Ch Sarwar, on the other hand, won in the Punjab. Clearly someone who lands on his feet. And one of a select band of people who have been members of two national legislatures. I can’t think of anyone else, so maybe Ch Sarwar is the first. He’s certainly the first person to become a member of the British and Pakistani Parliaments. It is perhaps ironic that Ch Sarwar is accused of having bought over PML(N) MPAs, but then they only voted their conscience. People suddenly remember their conscience when they meet an ATM.

Somewhere, along the line, though, there will have to be an ATM Group. That is what Tessori is accused of being, for Farooq Sattar, that is. Well, it doesn’t seem that ATMs are having an easy time. I mean, look at the ATMs of the PTI, Aleem Khan and Jehangir Tareen, who won that title after they were photographed with party chief Imran Khan on a plane, all three on their way to London. Jehangir tareen has been disqualified as an MNA by the Supreme Court, and though he remains party secretary-general, the seat he had won in a by –election, was lost by his son. Aleem Khan has found himself a step ahead of NAB. The Sharifs seem not to need ATMs, perhaps because they themselves have served in this role a generation back.

For the first time in a long time, the PPP’s stranglehold on the Chairmanship of the Senate is under threat. It hasn’t been lost entirely, but it could be. However, the PML(N) will now depend on those elected technically as independents from the Punjab. None of them is an ATM, though I don’t think any of them would qualify as a poor man.

The PPP doesn’t have much reason to celebrate. Sridevi’s death in Dubai made former President Asif Zardari condole with producer Boney Kapoor over the loss of his wife. Zardari went through the same pain himself. And the Dubai connection is similar. True, Benazir Bhutto didn’t drown in a bath-tub, but Zardari must have sympathized with another man whose wife’s death caused unfortunate accusations to be flung around. A major difference is that Sridevi’s post mortem was conducted, unlike Benazir’s. That means that Sridevi’s death can be proved, but not necessarily Benazir’s.

Of course, Boney Kapoor has lost two wives now, and Zardari only one, and no party chairmanship as compensation. Sridevi didn’t really have a career Boney could use. Mian Nawaz Sharif sympathized, but not as much. Though his wife is under treatment for cancer, she is still fighting it. Imran Khan should have expressed condolences, for Sridevi was active in the era when Imran was roping in Bollywood to raise funds for his cancer hospital, and she could hardly have avoided being involved in that effort. But maybe Imran has no sympathy for Boney. He too has lost two wives, but both are alive.