One of the things that was noticeable about the factory fires in Karachi and Lahore was how they happened when the prime minister was not in the country. Instead, he was in China, where there seems to have been power blackouts, and even though China is a close friend of Pakistan’s, they’ve decided not to invite him again because they can’t afford the blackouts. And it’s interesting that the fires were both supposed to be electrical in origin. So while Raja Pervaiz was attempting to sell his Chinese counterpart a plot in balmy Gujjar Khan, probably right next to the one he sold the Indian Foreign Minister, these fires were taking place.

The Karachi fire, in which almost 300 people died, was really horrific, not least because it was a garment factory, and thus must have been an export business. Perhaps most people don’t want to know how our exports are produced, but is in just such factories, without proper wiring, without such safety measures as fire extinguishers or proper entry or exit points. And we can be sure that only two factories broke into flames, but a lot more are unsafe. One problem is that inspection becomes an excuse to extract bribes. Businesspeople may like the solution of not having any inspection, but the results are all before us.

However, though we were deprived of the experience of Raja Pervaiz personally fighting the fire because he was in China, he did fly over the Karachi site on his return, thereby assuring us that there was democracy. Also flying over the site was Dr Rehman Malik. The nation must be grateful that nothing happened to him.

I mean, if something had, would he have been mourned by the Americans? They were too busy mourning their Ambassador to Libya, who was killed in his Benghazi consulate, and was probably worth much more than the Sole Warrior on Terror.

The killing was because of a film blaspheming against the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him). It should be made perfectly clear that Rehman Malik has nothing to do with the film. The reaction to the film in the Muslim world should be proof of the need for the War on Terror to be stepped up, so that Muslims the world over, will be ready to protest as vehemently in favour of the right of free speech. Is the real objection to the killing or the reason? I suspect it’s to the killing, because no one is supposed to die of free speech. As someone once said, “I won’t fight to the death to defend what I say. I might be wrong.” Perhaps that is what Americans don’t like about Muslims. They’ll fight to the death. They don’t recognise the logic of the force brought against them.

And by the way, did you see how it all seems to be happening in Karachi. I mean, apart from the factory fire they had shootings, a bombing and drownings. Yet I’m sure that even with all these deaths, the net population of the city increased, not just because of new births, but also migration.

Should one hope for better regulation, now that so many lives have been lost in the country’s two biggest cities? Probably not, because while we have democracy, which means Mr Ten Percent as president, Raja Rental as prime minister and Dr Malik as interior minister, we will always see a vigorous population control programme. When we don’t have democracy, when we don’t have a PPP government, we either have the military or the PML-N, or in short, a government backed by factory owners. And they don’t like being regulated. They don’t see their main purpose in life as making sure that no letters are written against the president to Switzerland. But they don’t like being regulated, not by inspectors more interested in bribes than enforcing regulations.

Perhaps one of the more interesting questions that remain is when and how Muslims will react to the blasphemous film. Reaction has also spread to India, but Pakistan has not yet reacted. It did to the Jyllands Posten cartoons, with an attack on the Punjab Assembly. However, as the film only got publicity in the Arab world because of the Arabic translation, I’m not sure how it would go down with Urduphone audiences. Well, I suppose we should make sure that Dr Malik does not do the translation, neither from the Arabic nor the English, because if he did, we would find our embassies abroad besieged by native speakers of the language he translated from, protesting the violence done to their language.

Another reason for him not doing the translation, apart from his preoccupations in fighting the War on Terror singlehanded and making aerial reconnaissance flights, is his being busy with the Rimsha Masih blasphemy case. Now that case is an indicator. Why don’t the Americans simply produce a special person and say he was the producer-director? The producer and director have gone to ground, and the USA is claiming it doesn’t know who they are. Is that meant as a comment on the films we see? Or on the new media? Because for the people we’re dealing with, new media is not electronic, but film. They only accepted printing recently, remember.