As we move towards having our chosen representatives elect a President, we come close to that dread moment when democracy will vanish from the country, when no Bhutto relative occupies either the Presidency or the Prime Ministership. After all, that is the purpose of constitutional rule. Ask any jiala: the purpose is not to have rule of law, or anything like that, it is to know that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, or one of his relatives (like a son-in-law), rules us. The problem is that having a constitution means that the other side might win, like now. And what is the other side? Not just another party, but opponents of democracy.

However, as we move towards the presidential election, the last-minute dispute about the date between the government and the Election Commission has made some rather surprising images come forward. The official plea was that many members would be in either Makkah or aitekaf. That gives us a picture of Ch Nisar Ali wearing a black velvet cap inherited from Rehman Malik in the Haram. Or maybe Kh Saad Rafiq wearing a red cap left behind by Ghulam Ahmad Bilour at the Ministry, in aitekaf at a Lahore mosque. Or maybe Shahbaz Sharif will find the Jinnah cap he wore at his 1997 oath (yes, the slim Jinnah cap favoured by Field Marshal Ayub Khan) and take it to the Haram to observe aitekaf. That leads to the rumour that Mr Bean is observing aitekaf this year, but it can be denied on good authority that he hasn’t even converted to Islam.

The PPP has decided that if there is not to be democracy in the country, it will boycott. And Raza Rabbani not being from Agra like Mamnoon Hussain, it was not possible for the MQM to support him. Altaf Hussain’s family is from Agra, so perhaps Mamnoon was a shrewd choice by Mian Nawaz. I mean, there was no way the MQM could have not voted for someone from Bhai’s hometown. And here’s a truth to get your head around: if Raza Rabbani had the least chance of being elected, Asif Zadari would have contested. As it is, after Mamnoon is elected, Asif will have about a month of his tenure still left, but with a successor in place. And democracy will have gone from the country when he goes. One is also wondering whether he will take his Sindhi cap with him, or leave it behind in the Presidency for Mamnoon to wear next Ramazan, presumably at aitekaf in the Presidency mosque.

Now all that is left for the PPP to do is to steal the ballot boxes. Now that they have boycotted the election, there is only that tactic of the loser left. Rehman Malik, who would be a voter as a Senator, would have obliged, but not having his crushed-velvet cap, having bequeathed to Ch Nisar along with all powers to shut down mobile services, he can’t, so I suppose Khurshid Shah will have to do the needful.

I wonder if voting on August 6 would have proven any form of enlightened moderation, and whether going into aitekaf or going to the Haram proves any sort of extremism. I suppose not, for I have not had anyone from the PPP make the claim, even though jialas have tried to make the claim that anyone not a member of the party is an extremist, and subject to instant rendition.

That extremism is alive and well should be apparent from events in Parachinar and Sukkur, which show that being a Shia in the ISI means that two sets of militants are after you. And why didn’t the suicide bombers wait a bit? I wonder whether there’s more spiritual reward in blowing yourself up after leaving aitekaf? Those who blew themselves up on a Friday in Ramazan in Parachinar must have done so because they felt this would enhance their reward. All of those politicians entering aitekaf won’t blow themselves up. That would cause a by-election.

I suppose we should now sit back and wait for the PTI to claim the presidential election was rigged. Of course, the best party to make this claim would be the PPP. I mean, they didn’t make the claim for the general election, even though they had the proof: they lost. Now the PPP does not lose an election, because it has the support of the people.

But we have a good opportunity to compare the old way of picking a head of state with the new, what with the great-grandchild born to the last Queen of Pakistan, and named George after the last Emperor of India. When Mamnoon Hussain was born, no one thought he would become President, especially not of a country that then didn’t even exist. Young George was set to become King of England as soon as he was born, though of course he’ll have to wait until his father, grandfather and great-grandmother all die. The last time that happened, when the future Edward VIII was born, his great-grandmother (Victoria) lived another seven years.

He didn’t become King for another 35 years. VIII is not lucky for British monarchs. There was Henry VIII, who had eight wives, and then there was Edward VIII, who abdicated because he wanted to marry a divorcee. So George VIII is not likely to be very lucky. And he’s likely to be unlucky with the ladies. Wonder how the new arrival will disgrace his ancestors? Well, one can only wish that a baby won’t.