Bhatinda is a place in Punjab that has always been associated with taking the longer route to anywhere, with the famous “via Bhatinda” catch phrase. I was reminded of it when, in a flurry of activity and within a few hours only, all the seemingly insurmountable blocks blocking the Nato supply line were overcome. If it only took that long for the two countries involved to satisfactorily resolving the issue, what was the reason for the seven-month long, via Bhatinda so to speak, route? Have we been able to prove, in any conclusive way, that we can survive toeing a line like this without possessing the wherewithal for it? Instead of taking so many months, the issue should have been resolved earlier with a strong and rightful protest over the Salala incident on record. Apologies and amendments to the criminal act would have come. Anything that is allowed to fester just goes bad, period. Rule of nature. Had we been in a position of abandoning the position we have taken consistently for the last many years and drawing up a completely new foreign and security policy, we could have considered the luxury of other measures.We have just got so used to living from day to day and from issue to issue with no ability to think and therefore plan for the future. Our favourite phrase, when faced with an outcome that could go either way is “Allah khair keray ga”, and we are just not willing to plan for or think about what we will do if all does not end in khair, from our perspective that is. It is only after the negative fallout stares us gloomily in the face that we start to do the following. Anger followed by bravado, followed by what we do best - scheme to wiggle out of the narrow space somehow. This is exactly what is evident in the new Contempt of Court Bill 2012 that has been approved by the Cabinet. It will exempt the President, the Prime Minister, Governors and Chief Ministers from contempt of court proceedings. All this is happening because the date of July 12 hangs like the sword of Damocles over the head of the new man in as Prime Minister, as that is when he has been asked to give a date for the letter that’s already late in posting. A bill like this if it is adopted goes against the very spirit of accountability and creates a ‘supra-political elite’ that is answerable to no one and is quite above the law of the land. As my friend Adeel Hashmi says: “Sirf ghouri na bannayien, kuch ghour bhi kerien!”The bill if it is adopted will be an obvious attempt to interfere with the exercise of judicial power in pending proceedings, as the new Prime Minister has already announced that he is not going to sign on the dotted line. No last minute change of heart is expected on that score. The bill, in essence, is another attempt to take the Bhatinda road, which is better than the high road. A pity!The Young Doctors, too, have been at the centre of controversy in the last couple of weeks. It is true that there has been a lot of discomfort caused to poor patients, who have had nobody to tend to them and the Punjab government has used all the power at its command to scare them into conforming. First, let’s take the case of the suffering humanity. In Pakistan, the poor have so much misery in their lives and there are countless deaths daily resulting due to sheer negligence by some official organisation or the other. What I’m trying to say is that the wretched in this country have no real friends in high places as emergencies in almost all our vital areas have proven, and the tears being shed by the Punjab government vide expensive advertisements for those unattended in hospitals, do not really carry that much weight. The doctors are only demanding a service structure and it is their right to do so. Until we learn to value and respect our doctors and our teachers, how are we ever going to create good healthcare and education for our people? Every professional has to be motivated in his work to be able to give his best. A service structure is a right of every organisation.Postscript: One does not want to turn into a perpetual complainer, but there are issues other than those at the official level that beg to be remedied too. If one is behind the wheel of a car and stops at a traffic signal behind a public transport van or a cab, it is to be expected that the driver of either is suddenly going to have an urge to spit or blow his nose, and will poke his face out of the window and will do so in full view of the public. It is totally gruesome apart from being unhygienic and such offences must be fined instantly. It also infringes on our right not to be forcefully exposed to such ugly sights. If our Motorway police can be a role model of behaviour and our current traffic police has the same training, it would be wonderful if someone can take notice of this. The stopping of public spitting’ is a bill I would support wholeheartedly if the cabinet opted to adopt it. But it is a far-fetched thought. For while we object to spitting in public, the cabinet spits at us in private!