One must credit the PPP for creative use of the structures imposed upon it by the Musharraf Martial Law, whereby it had to turn into two parties, the PPP and the PPP (Parliamentarians), with the latter actually contesting elections. In fact, the previous PPP government at the Centre, the Qaim Shah and Murad Shah governments of Sindh and the present PPP parliamentary parties, are all based on PPP (Parliamentarian) parliamentary parties. The PPP and the PPP(P) are in alliance. The solution has been the election of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as sole Chairman of the PPP, and the election of his father Asif as sole President of the PPP(P). Well, at least he’s President of something, though it’s a bit of a comedown from being President of Pakistan.

It seems as if we can’t get away from spousal relationships. There wouldn’t have been anything for Zardari except his father’s National Assembly seat (to which he is going back in a by-election) if he hadn’t been Benazir Bhutto’s widower. And Tayyaba wouldn’t have had her hand burnt if she hadn’t worked for an additional sessions judge. Look, Tayyaba was tortured by the judge’s wife, and she wouldn’t have tortured her if she hadn’t been a judge’s wife. Of course, she must have had a problem already. I mean, other judges’ wives probably have recalcitrant maids, but none of them punished them by holding a hand on a heated tawa.

From what one hears, the Judge Sahib is sparing no effort to have the case messed up so that his wife can get off. For a start, he had a colleague grant her bail. Then all those claiming to be Tayyaba’s parents were vociferous in saying they had compromised the case, and didn’t want to pursue it. In fact, Tayyaba was only found because The Supreme Court had ordered her produced.

Of course, the Supreme Court is also deliberating upon the Panama Papers case, and members of the bench are taking an uncooperative line by asking for evidence, even though PTI chief Imran Khan has said that Nawaz is corrupt. This reluctance to rely on the Kuptaan’s say-so shows that the entire bench has been purchased by the Sharifs.

Well, the Panama hearings are one problem for Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, but finding a good, reliable Sindh Governor is another. The incumbent, retired Chief Justice Saeeduz zaman Siddiqui, just upped and died, after having spent almost his whole tenure in hospital. He had one of the shortest tenures on record, holding office from 9 November 2016 to 11 January 2017. It was shorter than that of President Mamnoon Hussain, who was Sindh Governor from 19 June 1999 to 12 October 1999. Mamnoon won the Presidency in 2013, whereas Siddiqui had lost when he ran in 2008.

His death in office reminds me of the time Punjab lost its Governor to death, when Governor Altaf Hussain died in 1995. He was not a retired Chief Justice like Siddiqui, but he was a lawyer. I One could say they were on opposite sides, for while Siddiqui refused to make fresh oath back in 1999, and preferred to give up office, despite the request of Sharifuddin Pirzada, Ch Altaf was supposed to be one of his followers, being his go-to man in Jhelum, and it is this acquaintance that proved a channel of communication between the PPP and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in the conspiracies that led to the fall of the first Nawaz government.

There seems to be a distinct medical flavor to the Sindh governorship. Governor Siddiqui spent his brief tenure in medical care. His predecessor, Dr Ishraul Ibad, was a medical man himself. The record he created was for prolonged survival in office, for seeing Presidents come and go.

Maybe Mian Nawaz should just appoint him and make the best of a bad business. After all, he need not worry about the Senate getting upset about governors, not when they can discuss retired Army chiefs and disappearing bloggers. Four bloggers, social activists, disappeared. One assumption is that they are very bad people who have spoken ill of sensitive national institutions. Those institutions have nothing to do with their disappearance. And those institutions want to go international through Gen (retd) Raheel Sharif, who may command the 34-nation military coalition put together by Saudi Arabia.

I don’t know about institutions, international or local, but I do know that there’s finally been a winter snap. A little late, which I used to blame on global warming, but not now, not after Donald Trump said it was a Chinese conspiracy. And he should know, because he’ll be President of the USA when these notes next appear.

And these notes would be incomplete without saying how hard-hit the journalist community is, with the deaths of Azhar Jaffery and Anwar Kidwai now followed by those of Rauf Sheikh and Farooq Awan here, and Saeed Maan in Brussels. The world is made a colder place without them. Knowing they were there was a hidden source of strength.