I’m not sure if the rain at the beginning of the week was the last kick of the monsoon, but it did turn us suddenly out of the monsoon into autumn. It wasn’t quite winter, and there is still some bite in the weather, but the rain has meant the sheets have come out, and there is now a rasp in the throat early in the morning. Of course, the rain also seems to have laid to rest all the flu bugs that were going around. And global warming seems to have meant that winter is shortened, so autumn is not only shorter but also later. Of course, what we call winter in most of Punjab is autumnal weather even in Southern Europe, and we don’t have all that much rain.

However, the rain seems to have brought new standards. The Chief Minister’s son-in-law had to surrender in the bakery beating, having to face something his wife is supposed to have done. Well, all other married men can say is, welcome to the club.

Which reminds me that the death anniversary, the 61st, of Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, that symbol of all married men, was marked last week. Now why should he symbolize married men? Not because he was married, though that was a reason, but because when he was assassinated, there were holes in his vest. For almost everyone, that is a symbol of how simple was our first Prime Minister, though for some (my wife included) that is a symbol of how much his wife neglected him. I wonder why married men don’t take out processions on Shaheed-e-Millat Day, raising in counterpoint the slogan Liaquat, teray khoon say, Inqilab aayega. I suppose it’s because their wives haven’t told them to. My wife, by the way, has not profited from this example, perhaps because she thinks I will never be assassinated, or because she hopes that the holes in my vest, if discovered, would be ascribed to the bohemian lifestyle we journalists are supposed to lead. Or else to the recession,(vests are unaffordable) not to her housekeeping. I agree, as would any husband who knew what was good for him.

Speaking of violent death, Shakir Ali Rizvi has been gunned down. He was on the fringes of politics, but if his death had anything to do with his defending Sipah-i-Muhammad activists, it would be very unfortunate. No lawyer should be punished because of his clients, even if he is defending them for free. Sectarianism has been our bane, for it means we can’t be religious because if we are, we have to go through the prism of one sect or the other. However, all sects record the incident in the life of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him), where he found himself asked to let off a woman of prominent family caught stealing. He said that he would have sentenced his own daughter to have her hand cut off if she had committed theft. While the late Mr Rizvi had to do with the criminal law, the Chief Minister should also keep that example in mind. His daughter may well have inherited his finger gestures, but he should follow the law more closely than others. After all, not only is his daughter the child of a chief minister, but the niece of a former prime minister and the sister of an MNA.

Of course, Mr Rizvi’s shooting did not provoke the national prayers that Malala Yousafzai’s did, but then she survived the shooting, which he didn’t. That she was sent abroad for treatment was only right, but what about those children wounded in drone attacks? They formed a grisly contrast to Malala Yousufzai, and perhaps the President was safeguarding taxpayers’ money when he called them ‘collateral damage’, because if he hadn’t, he might have had to pay for their treatment, like he is doing for Malala Yousufzai, and that’s taxpayers’ (our) money he’s using.

Well, we are all heading for Eid, I suppose it’s irrelevant that we’re celebrating Eid on the wrong day if the Hajis are right, or else if we are right, Haj is being performed on the wrong day. So long as Mufti Muneeb is happy. It seems the Ummah, and the Hijri calendar, was made for Mufti Muneeb. Remember, the Haj is important. Successful performance means forgiveness of all sins. That might explain its popularity among what I call the white-shoe professions of property dealing, employment-agenting, gold smuggling and drug dealing. In these professions, you will sin a lot, so you need to start with a clean slate.

Another thing that has started is the Great Eid Exodus to the Village. People are leaving this Monday (today), and planning to return next Monday. If you plan to sacrifice in the Village, you had better go as early as possible, because animals are being brought to the City, where they have already touched ridiculous heights. You’ve got goats in the one-lakh range, which cattle have long passed. Gone are the days when you could get an animal for Rs 5. Of course, that was then an annual salary, not a coin. But then, as now, you needed to go to The Village for Eid, not stay in the Big Bad city.

Meanwhile, we know that Eid will not pass easily for Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durrani and Gen (retd) Aslam Beg, against whom the Supreme Court has ordered action for interfering in politics. The irony is that a retired air marshal filed the petition which led to this. I Wonder when a retired admiral will jump in?