We might have a budget, but we don’t have a Prime Minister. Ishaq Dar presented his fourth budget this tenure, his fifth in all, his first without Mian Nawaz Sharif watching on. Mian Nawaz had himself presented five budgets, but none federal, having been Punjab Finance Minister back in the 1980s, in Lt Gen Ghulam Jilani’s Cabinet. Senator Dar had earlier attended the meeting of the National Economic Council at which Mian Nawazz had presided via videolink.

And where was Mian Nawaz?  In London, getting a quadruple bypass. There was an end to Cabinet secrecy, though no one seems to have noticed, probably being more concerned about Mian Nawaz’s health. The reason Cabinet secrecy was breached was because Senator Dar had to obtain approval for the Budget, including the taxation measures, on Monday, four days before the Budget, as opposed to the normal practice, where the Cabinet meets, approves the Budget, and then follows the Finance Minister in something of a rush, because they could miss the Speech, if they dawdle. This means that no minister could, even inadvertently, leak any portion of the Budget before it was presented. However, this Budget, that failsafe was abandoned. True, the details of new taxation were not revealed, so betel makers didn’t get a heads-up, but the principle is supposed to be sacrosanct.

Mian Nawaz may have missed the two speeches, but he survived the operation. Most people do, but still people have died later, not so much of complications as of the original disease. My late father had such an operation, as did my maternal uncle. So I should be expecting to hear bad news from my doctor sooner or later. If I’m lucky. Too often, the first sign of heart disease is a fatal heart attack. Imagine where we’d be if Mian Nawaz had just upped and died. We had a COAS dying that way, having a heart attack and dying, Gen Asif Nawaz Janjua in 1992.

Mian Nawaz might have survived, but Harambe, the silverback gorilla at the Cincinatti zoo, didn’t. He was shot by a rapid response team so as to save a child who had climbed into his cage. Some say he threatened the child, some that he would have preserved him. Anyhow, the child was hurt enough to need to stay in hospital. Americans were enraged enough to take to social media: to complain about the gorilla’s killing. Would it have been better if the kid had been killed? I doubt it, because he was black. Is the gorilla white? He was a silverback, after all.

Back Lives Matter, but that didn’t stop Muhammad Ali from dying, aged 74. There was an outpouring of grief on social media, and it was surprising how he had been everyone’s childhood hero, whether you were now in your 60s, or in your teens. Imran Khan was probably a fan, as Ali came before him in being political. Amid all the tributes, one quote from him stood out: “Live every day as if it is your last. One day, you’ll be right.”

It wasn’t just that he was a Muslim. So was Mike Tyson (yes, the guy who made Evander Holyfield into a genuine kantuta). It was about how good he was. A gym in Lyari suspended training for the day as a mark of respect. I wonder how many other gyms also did so, the world over. Indeed, he wrote his own epitaph as well as described his fighting style: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

Ali’s death came in the fullness of age. But that was not the case of Maria Sadaqat, the Murree schoolteacher who was burnt to death by her principal for refusing his son’s proposal. The son is married, with a daughter. The principal could have just sacked her. Instead, he made her suffer a death reserved by the Almighty for himself. Private schools, I see, have not protested, as they would have, had it been a principal who had been burnt alive. It’s not just school principals, but male bosses, who must be restrained, and it’s not just male bosses, but female ones too, who have unsuitable male relatives with marriage proposals.

Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the Taliban chief, was at last acknowledged as dead by the Pakistani authorities when they were allowed to perform a DNA test on the relative who came from Afghanistan to collect the Mullah’s corpse. Why do I suspect that our boys were only convinced when they were let loose and performed some solid investigation, which was to beat the relative until he confessed he was related to not just Mullah Mansour, but the last President of Afghanistan, any silverback gorilla they cared to name, and any zebras in Africa they wanted. Remember, beating a suspect will always yield more results than taking his DNA test.

I wonder if they’re doing any DNA tests on the victims of the Indian Army depot fire, in which 16 people were killed. Well, that was going to happen after India befriended the USA. Remember Ojheri Camp, the product of befriending the USA?

Well, India has probably got other fish figures. Official figures, obtained under a freedom of information request, show that 2.5 million Indians have got AIDS, with 2234 infected between October 2014 and March 2016. How did that happen? The only reason that can be mentioned in a family newspaper like this is dirty needles (for transfusions, not drugs). What can be said in a family newspaper is that Ramzan is about to start, and I hope next week, these notes will be read while fasting.

Of course, in Europe, those women fasting will have to do so without headscarves, because employers can ask women to take them off according to a European Court of Justice decision, provided they ask all employees to remove religious symbols. So you can shave your head if you want to look cool, but not if you’re a Buddhist monk. Anyhow, Donald Trump has got some more good news, with Europe showing the way.