Tallat Azim Slowly but surely, positive developments are taking place in the Republic. Coming quickly on the heels of one another, three pieces of news actually gave all of us, the ordinary and blighted citizens of this wronged country, reasons to smile. The sun, it appears, is determined to come out from behind the dense grey clouds. First came the consensus agreement on the NFC. It augers well for the country and democracy that the federating units have all agreed on its distribution, with brownie points going to the Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif for giving up on the population criterion. The federal finance minister's team also deserves a pat on the back for making it happen. Goes to prove that the thorniest of issues can be resolved when there is the realisation that the boat we are on is common Reminds me of other lessons too that have been derived from Noah's Ark. They include not missing the boat, planning ahead because it was not raining when the ark was built, travelling in pairs for safety and finally the most important, no matter the storm, when you believe, there is always a rainbow waiting at the end. A rainbow that really waited for the nation, for the two year old storm of the infamous NRO to tide over, actually glimmered in full glory when the Supreme Court judgment was announced. Across the board, there is a sense of relief. As on all occasions, Faiz Sahib says it all, Jaza saza sub yaheen pai ho gi, Yaheen sawab- o- azaab ho ga, Yaheen sai uthey ga shor-e-mehshar, Yaheen pai roz- e- hisaab ho ga. The president, even though elected by all the provincial and federal assemblies and the leader of the biggest political party, has disappointed in office. Despite being a historic aberration, he was given a fair chance to display a new self. Alas Even if the presidency is now shorn of all its wrongly accumulated powers, it will remain in the eye of the storm with all the unsavoury evidence that will be bandied about by the ever inquisitive media. The presidency does not seem to be adjusting to all the new ground realities well. A case in point is the appointment of the eloquent, but himself an NRO affectee, Babar Awan as the minister for law It is right out of Alice in Wonderland and getting 'curiouser and curiouser' by the minute. The 247 who had spent the last many months laughing for having gotten away with their alleged crimes are now on the ECL. All of them may not be guilty, but it is only right that they have their names cleared before being able to enjoy positions of authority. And finally, the third good news came from the announcement that the Cabinet has decided to go for practical and tangible displays of austerity. Everyone who had a pen had gone berserk demanding that the government's belt needed to be visibly tightened. Especially when it was out asking for aid from all and sundry and the citizens were taking a continuous bad knocking on all fronts. It was definitely not nice to see lavish displays at official banquets or wastage on trips abroad. All the decisions have been well received and should have been done right at the beginning. The official trips abroad will also be curtailed, somewhat, because so many of the powerful are also on the ECL If it was not about my country, I would find that quite funny We await a leaner, meaner Cabinet that has been promised and one whose perks will be measured against their achievements. The national flag has been removed from the ministerial vehicles. They now have to walk the walk with us non-flag types and get a feel of the road with no escort in front. What is beyond understanding are the committees that will be formed to oversee the implementation of the austerity drive. Anything that requires a committee is doomed from the start, as our track records show. 'Just do it' would be more in line for a motto for this exercise. Postscript: For times immemorial the word halwa has been associated with the word maulvi. Maulvis, of the sub-continent, by and large, have developed a reputation for two things over many years. One is their passion for halwa and the other is the penchant for child abuse. Of course, the implication here is not of the renowned religious scholar, but the uneducated village or city maulvi, who interprets religion at will and spends most of his life trying to control people in his area by scaring the living daylights out of them with his description of life in hell. The word halwa has always been synonymous with the word maulvi and both go hand-in-hand in our culture. It was a little incongruous, thus, that a whole lot of our ulema ate halwa together and were taken grievously ill. The halwa was apparently poisoned. Thank goodness there were no casualties or the sad headlines would not have been free of humour. 'Halwa nai Halwa Ker Diya'. The rapping on the knuckles of the Ministry of Interior by the Supreme Court for removing DG FIA Tariq Khosa was another high. Even though Tariq Khosa was sent on a promotion, the real reason for his removal was to get him diverted from the expose of the big guns in the Haris Steel Mills case that he was doing. It reminded me of another DG FIA in another government, Major General (retd) Inayatollah Niazi, who was removed from his position because he was about to expose the money transfer done by the Redco group just before the freezing of the foreign currency accounts. The powerful in this country have always been successful in preventing accountability in the past. Maybe, it actually is a new dawn and maybe we are ready for a U-turn. The writer is a freelance columnist, Email: tallatazim@yahoo.com