The big news was supposed to be the visit by Richard Holbrooke, who will solve the Kashmir issue single-handed, but the really big news was that he was not given an award, even though he met the President. Though he has every right to be hurt, and thus to work against Pakistani interests, there is a double protection. First, we tell him that awards are only made at the end of a tenure (like the one to Joe Biden was made at the end of his Senate tenure, and before he became Vice-President). Then we tell him that Pakistani interests are actually identical to American interests, and he will go off, happy at the prospect of an award in the distance for what he is being presently paid to do. But Holbrooke's presence in Pakistan cramped the style of the Main Weapon Against Terror, him who is singlehandedly fighting the War on Terror, Rehman Malik. He was very roundabout in his admission that he was responsible for the Mumbai attacks. He himself held the press conference in which he said that the attacks were planned in Pakistan, and named some of the planners. But he should have said, which he didn't, that the planners ran the plan past him first, and got his approval. After all, if we are to believe the Indians, the Mumbai attacks were part of the War on Terror. And everyone and the kitchen sink knows that in Pakistan the War may have been fought by President Pervez Musharraf and the Army, but since his arrival, the responsibility passed to Rehman Malik, and now he is the sole Warrior against Terror, no matter how many people get killed in Swat and elsewhere. So any action in the War can only take place with him in charge. Therefore, either the Indians must admit his role, or they must admit that Pakistan was not involved. But how can they admit his role unless he does first? And he won't until his parties are accommodated with visas, loud trousers, platform shoes and all. Perhaps the presence of Holbrooke prevented Rehman Malik from making an admission of being in India to prevent him being embarrassed. That this kept him eligible for an award was purely a coincidence. Rehman Malik was not embarrassed. Indeed, preventing embarrassment to Holbrooke may be the only way left to Rehman Malik to stay in the War. After all, Holbrooke is the only American who is both senior and new. Boucher is still the Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, and will carry on until replaced. So Holbrooke is the senior appointment in the region by the Obama Administration, and the State Department under Hillary Clinton. Anyway, once again, it was Rehman Malik who saved Holbrooke embarrassment, not some Indian, and should be worth more than just a couple of visas. Meanwhile, it appears that the other side in the War, has decided to spread from Swat, having destroyed all the girls' schools there, into the rest of the country, which are still infested with girls' schools. In short, they have decided to take over the country. That is an aspect of the War that the Rehman Maliks of he world are trying to hide, because if they admit it, they will also be admitting that they have lost the War on Terror. And the War can only be considered won if there are girls' schools. In fact, the low rate of female enrollment was according to the vision of those fighting the War against Rehman Malik's side, and on the side of those now spreading into the rest of the country. However, the true proof that Pakistan is devoted to the War, down to the last Pakistani, is the enthusiasm with which Valentine's Day was celebrated. That, in fact, is what the War on Terror is all about, at least from Pakistan's point of view. From America's point of view, the War is meant to keep the Empire Building safe, now that the World Trade Centre has been taken out. For Pakistanis, it means the freedom to celebrate Valentine's Day. This is in addition to another, more local, festival, of which we are not hearing as much, Basant. Why are we giving up this opportunity to earn dollars from the other side of the border? Is it because the new occupant of the Presidency is any less of a cultural enthusiast than his predecessor? We must remember that the present Governor is pure as the driven snow, though not quite the same can be said about his dark glasses. Those dark glasses would probably enjoy a good Basant, complete with little children getting their throats cut by the special twine. But those who can't tolerate girls' schools, can they tolerate kites? The best thing probably would be to hold Basant, which is being replaced by Valentine's Day, even if they have different target groups, and let the terrorists come themselves into the open. Maybe Rehman Malik will be able to round them up. Meanwhile, Holbrooke ensured that the slaughter which is supposed to take place on Basant, when special twine takes its toll of little children, has been transferred to Valentine's Day, when there was yet another American drone attack extracting a fearful toll. What a precise celebration, how precise indeed Maybe we should add to the list of festivals that demand lives. Maybe we should celebrate the puja of Durga Mai once again. At least our eastern neighbours would be happy. And we should make them happy. That's what we're there for, aren't we?