The news that the Pakistan Army has set a record by using tanks at 7000 metres would have sent tremors down spines throughout the Indian Army, especially tankers. Knowing Indians, they will not rest until they have either broken the record, or preferably set new ones, which are more in keeping with past records set by Indians. So at the moment, all of those tankers are going into hiding, rather than volunteer to test out for the attempt to pull a tank 100 yards with one’s moustaches, which has been set as the record to be set within six months. Like setting the record for pulling a tractor with one’s beard. Or a truck with one’s teeth.

If Indian tanker officers can’t find people to volunteer for a little thing like that, maybe they won’t find volunteers for the feat of pulling a tank with one’s hair. Especially since tankers, being soldiers, have short hair. Of course, Sikh tankers are available. Using a Sikh would be doubly useful, for it would send a signal contradicting the one sent at Kartarpur by the COAS’ personal presence.

On Siachen Glacier, to match the Pakistan Army’s feat of putting tanks on the glacier. Then there would be the tanker who keeps his finger on the tank machinegun’s trigger for his entire service. An act of tapasya to match that of the sadhu who kept his arm in the air for so long a bird even built its nest in the palm. Siachen Glacier, being in the Karakorams is an appropriate place, for that is a particularly holy area, where you can do tapasya of a particularly gruelling kind, like sitting naked in the snow. That will get you nirvana in a few minutes. Or if you somehow live through the hypothermia, double pneumonia and severe frostbite, you will achieve nirvana because you’ve lost all your toes.

I wonder if there is any nirvana to be achieved by having your throat cut by kite string, like the man in Lahore. After all, Basant means the earning of foreign exchange, and though the Tehrik-i-Insaf has long completed 100 days in office, the foreign exchange crisis is still on. Of course, the Cabinet was told that prices are not going up, which shows that they are trying the oldest trick in the book: it didn’t happen. Instead of doing anything about a problem, pretend it doesn’t exist. One symptom is the Finance Minister saying that the crisis is over.

And the sacking of the heads of Sui Northern and Sui Southern over the gas shortage this winter was to use the second oldest trick: shoot the messenger. It’s worth remembering that the gas shortage continues, which shows that the successors have not been properly briefed. It might be remembered that a cabinet committee rejected the report on the crisis until last week, when a fresh report blamed the chairmen. Accusation being proof of guilt, they of course got it in the neck. The rise in power outages, which is a sort of sneaky return of loadshedding, has not led to the sacking of the Chairman WAPDA. Of course, as a retired general, this government will not sack him. This government is so respectful of the military that it leaves assurances to businessmen to the COAS. The foreign exchange crisis is not over even though it has had orders barked at it.

And even though the UAE Crown Prince has turned up with a package worth $6.2 billion, of which half would be deferred payments for oil, and half a cash deposit with the State Bank, the crisis is still not over. Let’s wait for the Saudi Crown Prince. There are two problems with that. First, the Saudis have already given us a package. Second, one can only hope that Imran Khan both remains alive after meeting Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, and resists the temptation to follow his advice to use the Jamal Khashoggi model for dealing with hostile mediamen. One would hope that the Crown Prince doesn’t assume that giving a package means that he can now dictate government-press relations.

At the same time, one of the most dangerous recent trends has been settled. Azam Swati has resigned as Science and Technology Minister. It seems he has learnt the hard way that one does not get the IG transferred whenever one disagrees with the neighbours. The IG Islamabad has been transferred, the Minister has resigned, but the PM doing the transferring is still in office. As far as I can see, the neighbours and Imran are the ones who have escaped unscathed from the whole affair.

I suppose we can’t be happy. It’s been raining, and thus that peculiar dry cold, causing all those sniffles, has gone away. But that rain has set off an icy cold that has all wondering when this winter will draw to an end.