We hear that the confusion around who happens to be the real boss in Islamabad has become a major problem for protocol managers all around. PPP ministers willing to stand on one leg waiting for Asif Zardari are reluctant to follow even the prescribed protocol for PM Gilani. This was quite apparent during the Washington visit. According to a senior diplomat in attendance the haughtiness of one minister in the entourage was so obvious that it caused some awkward moments. Once a candidate for PM, this minister continued to demonstrate pomposity and discard the manual on protocol. When asked by diplomats to assemble in the hotel lobby before departing for the day's scheduled meetings, the minister would curtly reply, "let me know when the PM reaches the lobby and then I will come down." However, the PM fared better with the khaki top brass. When on his next foreign visit, this time to Sri Lanka, he was given a full send-off by the three services chiefs and the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee at Chaklala Airport. On his return there was a softer welcome with just members of the PM Secretariat turning up to welcome him back. * * * * * * * * * * We hear that Mian Nawaz Sharif is no longer a committed patron of the national flag carrier. Could it be the traumatic memory of the "hijack drama" or the ordeal of his return from exile that never materialized beyond the arrival lounge? Both were associated with the national airline. Whatever the reason, when the Mian returned to Pakistan last week after spending a month at his wife's bedside in London, people did notice one thing. He emerged, not from a PIA aircraft but one that had the Lufthansa label. The reason as overheard by some "The seats are wider, more comfortable." And the airline a safer bet, given his past experience, no doubt. * * * * * * * * * * A story doing the rounds of a five-star hotel in Islamabad has it that an MNA got slapped by a female stage actor in the hotel lobby, in full view of guests. Apparently she did not approve of the MNA's behaviour and decided to do something about it. However friends of the MNA claim that this was not a slapstick comedy or tragedy. In fact they say, only some hot words were exchanged, no more, but they could have sounded like a slap.