Death is the greatest leveller. Begum Kulsoom Nawaz Sharif died at last, but was alive long enough to show that the electors of NA 124 had been right to elect her to the National Assembly after her husband Nawaz was unseated, because she would have served out the remainder of the term to which she was elected in the by-election. However, she had not taken her seat, as at the time of her election, she was already in hospital, under treatment for the cancer which was to take her life.

There had been a murmuring that she wasn’t ill, that she was faking to get sympathy for her husband and daughter, to earn them a legal excuse to avoid being in the country. Those were the people who murmured that Mian Nawaz himself faked his illness, his very bypass, when he went to London to have it done in May 2016. Well, maybe it’s something of a relief that those people haven’t suggested that she hasn’t passed away, that she’s actually hiding in a Mediterranean island retreat, merely so as to get a three-day parole for her husband and daughter. Of course, getting those people to admit that she didn’t fake a fatal illness is very poor compensation for the grieving children and rest of the family.

It would not be right to remember her as a figure of controversy. She was a very private person, who only got involved in politics in her husband’s constituency to the extent of campaigning for him at election time. All along, in a long marriage that lasted 47 years, she stayed in the background, no matter whether her husband was Prime Minister (as he was three times), Punjab Finance Minister or Chief Minister. Of course, she put her hand up when he was overthrown, serving as President of the PML(N) until she joined him in his exile. There are two interesting coincidences to be noted. The marriage took place in 1971, which was also the year that Imran Khan, her husband’s Nemesis, made his Test debut. She died on September 11, the Quaid-e-Azam’s death anniversary. It had been her husband who had made it a working day instead of a public holiday, and her husband was born on the Quaid’s birthday, December 25. Which is still a holiday, but that’s because it’s Christmas.

Of course, the PTI didn’t react much to Begum Kulsoom’s death, and it was represented by Punjab Governor Muhammad Sarwar at the funeral. Prime Minister Imran Khan didn’t turn up, not least because he probably didn’t think losing a wife would be such a shattering experience. After all, he has lost two. And he lost them to divorce, not death.

So it seems that we’ve got all major political parties headed by men who’ve lost wives in various ways. Nawaz and Asif Zardari of the PPP are widowers, while Imran has divorced two even though he’s gained a third, making him the only married man in the lot. With Bilawal still a bachelor, I think the question “How’s life without a wife?” has gained greater pertinence that ever before.

Imran’s PTI has decided to convert the PM House, CM Houses and Governor Houses into educational institutions. I know those residences are palatial, but they’re not really big enough for a school or college. There’ll be the cost of conversion, because these are purpose-built buildings, and to make a college, say, out of Governor House Lahore, you’ll have to do a lot of conversion. True, the billiard marker employed there might make a good games master, while the chefs might teach cooking, but I’m not sure what the gardeners will do. Either be made the headmaster, or be repatriated back to the Agriculture Department.

And I hope the PTI knows where the panjandrum’s officials are supposed to go. A lot of these places have the panjandrum’s secretariat there too. New ones will have to be built. And the new residences will need places for the officials. When you add in the phones, fax machines and other communication equipment, you might end up with a huge budget. All in the interest of saving.

Both Imran and Mian Nawaz would share the same emotion of horror at the man who ran amok in Bakersfield, California, and who first killed three people, including his wife, before shooting himself. Briefly, before he killed himself, he too was a widower. Someone should have told him that shooting isn’t the way you resolve family disputes. Is there a lesson there for President Trump? It’s a pretty pass when a US President needs that lesson.

But then maybe Imran has got an eye on the Myanmarese crisis, where icon Aung San Suu Kyii has stepped up to bat for the court which convicted two reporters of violating the Official Secrets Act, when what they had been doing was report on army atrocities on Rohingyas. The two reporters are Myanmarese nationals, not Rohingya (otherwise they wouldn’t be nationals), and work for Reuters, the worldwide news agency.