Apparently, shopkeepers have learnt an important fact. We dont really care if we stink, so long as we get what we want. And we dont want an intangible when we go to a shop, but something definite and precise. And so long as we walk out with it, we dont mind if we reek to high heaven. Not even if the object of our desire was a deodorant in the first place. I had expected Lahores streets to become impossible to walk on this winter, when the new gas prices would create a stark choice between eating and bathing, or else bathing as previous generations did, in cold water in winters, presumably while eating a roti cooked the day before. Apparently, shopkeepers have learnt that running generators while the electricity is off is an expensive business, so customers and salesmen alike can sweat during this muggy weather, and the shopkeepers wont mind. Theyre the ones sitting at the back, and with generators powering the ACs in their offices. But otherwise, the power crisis has meant that shopping no longer means diving into an airconditioned building but braving the sights and sounds of Lahore. And the smells of Lahorites. Smells of drying sweat (for there is no dried sweat in this weather), that is. Meanwhile, our Prime Minister is far away from this weather of ours, on a visit to the UK. Since he wasnt given an official invitation, he went on a private visit. Of course, there may have been other motives, such as introducing his daughter to the world of politics. Well, she has good precedents before her, in her fathers party, and the latest being the Foreign Ministry, which for the first time has gone to a woman. Expect this also to be touted as an achievement of the PPP government, Well, better in Pakistani politics than dead, like singer Amy Winehouse. Thats an example of the reason the War on Terror is being fought. So that we can all live that way, and presumably find the same route to avoiding the smells of shopping in the monsoon. In fact, the whole War on Terror thing is supposed to stop us in the Third World from having the same sort of shopping experience as in the West. We should remain the Exotic East, complete with exotic smells. Well, if not of mysterious spices, of drying, but not completely dried, human sweat. You wont find our PM afflicted by that smell in the UK, now, would you? Nor the President in Saudi Arabia. And neither of them are concerned about the arrest by the FBI of Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai of the Kashmiri-American Council, because he is accused of funneling millions of dollars to American politicians without having registered as a lobbyist. The Presidents enthusiasm will depend on how much money is recovered, and returned to Pakistan in foreign exchange, in small, unmarked bills. Apart from the Presidents desire to benefit the poor people of the country by confiscating this, it has been interesting to note that there have been no American politicians arrested. I mean, who is Dr Fai supposed to have bribed? And shouldnt they be made to cough up the proceeds? Pakistan, according to the Americans, must have been bleeding at both ends. At one end were the Swiss accounts, with the money going into them having come from somewhere, at another where Dr Fai was supposed to have been paid all that money. The American cops should stick to charges they know better, like the attempted rape charge on which they got the IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, which seems to be the Western equivalent of buffalo theft. But I suppose, being cops, even if now in the FBI, they couldnt imagine what Dr Fai could be doing with a buffalo in Fairfax, Virginia. The ISI chief should be worried. The FBI might have worked out how to introduce a buffalo when next he visits. Or else they will fall back on what they are familiar with. Im surprised that the Norwegian shooter has been identified as a far-right Christian. This will set back the War on Terror, not because he has not been identified as a Christian terrorist, but because no one has identified him as a Muslim. If only he had been Muslim, this could have been yet another battle in the War between Good and Evil, which is another name for the War on Terror. As it is, the suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, is merely being questioned. And since the Norwegian police is doing the questioning, not the Punjab police, he wont confess to everything, anything, if they will only stop Of course, if a Muslim had been arrested, the FBI would have sent over all the people they could spare from the Fai investigation, so that they could trace Osama bin Laden, sorry, Dr Aiman Az-Zawahiri. And the methods Americans use are very well-known, especially in Guantnamo Bay. And while they may not have learnt enough from the Punjab police about buffaloes and buffalo theft to make charges stick, they have learnt some of the more popular methods of interrogation. They claim to have already had them, as shown in the term 'third degree. But whatever else is true or not, the citys shopkeepers have learnt the price of electricity.