Militants were behind the blast in Shabqadar, Charsadda district, in which 18 people were killed. However, no one has accused them of doing anything to MQM supremo Altaf Hussain, whose health was discussed a lot. Whatever Altaf’s faults, he has always been consistent in his opposition to militancy. Is that why he obtained British citizenship? So if his health is under discussion, how can militants not have something to do with it?

That raises another question. What is Mustafa Kamal’s position on militancy? He has accused Altaf of two of the biggest sins in the militants’ book, that of being drunk, and of taking money from RAW. Drinking alcohol is not a problem, understand, so long as it is in enlightened moderation. Nor is taking money from RAW, so long as it brings about peace in the Subcontinent. But getting drunk, and being nefarious about the money is. And as for the money, are the allegations by Sarfraz Merchant, one of the MQM man in London, to be ignored? He must really dislike his knees, or like the drill-wielding experts who will come calling on him soon.

Somehow, while everyone was blithely discussing Altaf’s health and habits, I couldn’t help sparing a thought for his aged mother, who has been through a lot because of him. We’ll put aside the many hours spent in fear for his life, the turmoil caused by his divorce and his court cases, the pain of the murder of his elder brother (her son, remember…). Let’s just think of the pain caused to this old lady by the discussions of the health, and the possible passing, of her boy.

Where she was probably enraged, the mother of Shahbaz Taseer must have been relieved, for her son returned home after five years in the hands of the militants. He had been kidnapped just after his father was assassinated, and came home just after his father’s killer was hanged. I think the congratulations were probably misdirected. I think the mother was probably the most relieved, even more than the wife. But one mother and wife who were left unrelieved, still bearing the pain of parting were the wife and daughter-in-law of ex-PM Yusuf Reza Gilani, whose son Ali Haider was kidnapped in 2013. He’s still in the custody of those who kidnapped him. And yes, it was militants.

Presumably militants don’t believe in Women’s Day, otherwise they would have let Ali Haider go too. The militants didn’t think of marking Women’s Day the way an 18-year-old did in a New Delhi suburb, when he first raped a girl he had been stalking for some time, and then set her alight. She still told the cops who had been responsible, and he got arrested. So there’s no blaming the rape on the militants. Incidentally, the victim died, so it became a case of murder, much like the notorious gangrape of a physiotherapy student which ended in her death, and which led to Parliament passing a law making gangrape a capital offence.

Of course, India has come through now with a promise that there will be no attack on the Pakistan cricket team while it is there for the T20 World Cup. As a result, not just the men’s team, but also the women’s has also gone over. Admittedly, I’m more worried about the women’s team. Indians do not have a good record with female visitors.

Actually, Indians don’t have a good record with any women. That might be why a woman was criminally assaulted in front of her three-year-old daughter, who is the only witness of that crime. And the assaults are carried out by Hindus, so disrespect for women cannot be blamed on Muslims, even though that’s probably what the Modi government would probably like to do. The Pakistan teams had better be careful, because they’re to play in Kolkata, which is also in the throes of an election campaign. As a prescient study has shown, the BJP improves its votes every time there’s one or more communal clash before the election… So nothing would suit it better than an attack on the Pakistan team, a digging up of the Een Gardens pitch, or a burning of the stadium.

Speaking of elections, the USA is watching with growing horror the prospect of Donald Trump becoming the Republican nominee. It’s a funny election, for it determines who will lead the unipolar world, but only Americans are allowed to vote. It looks like the limited franchise favoured by the Founding Fathers.

And then there’s the violence that seems to be afflicting the Trump campaign. In North Carolina, a septuagenarian Trump supporter punched a black protester, there was an attempt to take over the stage at a rally in Chicago. Remember, Chicago is where Al Capone flourished almost a century ago, and where the 1968 Democratic Convention was also disrupted by protests. 1968 was a violent year: Robert F. Kennedy was shot dead during the primaries, while seeking the Democratic nomination, which he would have won, as the sitting President had announced he was not running for re-election.

And what are we doing about this? Nothing. We’re too bedraggled, as we try and hide from the spring rains, that have brought back down rising temperatures. And these rains have been spread all over the country, from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Karachi. Well, though the spring might be unseasonably wintry, spring cleaning is being carried out according to the calendar.