With the head of the ISI in Washington and having made an agreement on the rules of engagement, which presumably includes the issuing of visas to an agreed number of Raymond Davises, rather than an unknown number, things are all better. The ISI chief, who has so far received two one-year extensions, has proved how useful he is to the War on Terror, and how the schools of Pakistan are safe for any American who might want to come into one with a semiautomatic weapon. In fact, how safe they are for another Raymond Davis, this time one with an itchy trigger finger. We will all see the fruits of this alliance in the days to come, just as we have seen the fruit of the drone attacks. And they will be in Americans normally not let into their schools, at least not with weapons. Here, the weapons are provided by the US government. Terrorists live here, you know. Its hard to get an education these days in Pakistan. If your school isnt blown up by extremists, Raymond Davis turns up with loded weapons and a twitching eye Its perhaps only a coincidence that, like Musharraf, Asif Zardari is spending the monsoon on visits abroad. I see hes presently in Teheran, having left the PM to swelter in the airconditioning of Islamabad. Though the monsoons have definitely started, we have yet to get one of those torrential downpours that shut up all doubters. But then, doubters are in the ascendant. Look at all of those who doubt that Osama Bin Laden is dead. But Ive also noticed that these are mostly military people, who dont want to lose the prestige that goes with protecting the Great Unwashed from their actions. This defence, though noble enough in itself, depends on their defending every inch of the sacred soil of the motherland. When the ability to defend is put in doubt, as the brazen intrusion of US Navy SEALs, unchallenged by Pakistani radar, to kill Osama, showed, the right to rule is challenged. And the armed forces have nothing to do, if they cant rule. Before Abbottabad, their ability to defend was demonstrated in 1971. Anyhow, theres been doubt cast upon Osamas death. However, be that as it may, we have seen a demonstration of how Zulfiqar Mirza is essential to governing Sindh properly. First you anger him by removing him from the Home portfolio, but you keep him in the Cabinet, and then leave him to insult your largest minority, not just them, but their leader (until a short while ago your ally) and their ancestors. Then, after enough people have been killed, he apologises, looking as if butter wont melt in his mouth. The leader of the minority issues a call for calm, and not only do you look good, but so does everyone, especially the provincial government. In the end, it seems, the MQM may well have realized that Zulfiqar Mirzas remarks are not a resigning matter. Zulfiqar Mirza should be offended at the little regard in which he is held. On Friday, the rumour was strong that the MQM had reconsidered, and decided to return to the government. Nine Zero issued a denial, but having to issue it was itself an indication. Indication of what? The same thing as the ISI chief in Washington, a willingness to work on the same salary as before. Or maybe the MQM found the arguments of Ch Shujaat Hussain, who went to Nine Zero, convincing. Assuming of course, they understood him. But maybe Farooq Sattaqr does. After all, when the MQM last left the government, it entered into an agreement with Ch Shujaats PML(Q), and now it does not seem right for the MQM to leave the government when the PML(Q) has finally joined. True, the government includes Dr Zulfiqar Mirza among its luminaries, but he has not called Muhajirs anything in public, whatever he might do in private. Besides, Dr Mirza should be told that the MQM is as much an ally in the War on Terror as the PPP, and calling anyone names doesnt solve anything. That would seem an appropriate thing to say to him, because it seems the lines are becoming blurred in it. Allies should decide now if they want to continue, because now the Americans are withdrawing from Afghanistan, following the Soviets (now Russians) and the British, indeed any foreign invader ever since the country was populated. Yes, the Americans have removed some troops, and will have removed all they sent in during the surge by the end of the year. And only then will it be known what is the price of alliance. Because only then will it be made clear that what the USA wants for the region is a one-window operation: Indian hegemony. Of course, this is something which India has fallen in with very rapidly, once it realized that the USSR had collapsed. Of course, all this is happening while the Ferozepur Road Overhead Bridge is being built. Well, considering the trouble its causing, it had better be good. Well, if it isnt, whoever is responsible should remember what happened to French President Nicholas Sarkozy. But then, he was meeting people, which security concerns dont allow our leaders to.