You know things aren't good when you see a headline about Pakistani refugees fleeing to Afghanistan.
But they're not fleeing into Afghanistan because they expect civil war any moment as a result of Benazir Bhutto's assassination; for a start, we're up in the mountains here, out in the kind of country that still fits in the poem...A scrimmage in a Border station/A canter down some dark defile/Two thousand pounds of education/Falls to a ten-rupee jezail. Moving between Pakistan and Afghanistan isn't unusual. Further, it's been down there in the reasonably stable bits of Pakistan where there's been serious violence as a consequence of the assassination.
What these people are fleeing is the Pakistani government's campaign, egged on by the US, against their warlords up in places like Swat; the government is now boasting openly that it's going to eliminate one of them they've decided is behind the killing. There is no reason to believe this is true; there is every reason, though, if you live up there, to expect all kinds of horrible trouble. Air raids. Artillery. Crazy foreigners whose God wants you for a guidance package. Bastard Punjabi soldiers wanting to search your house. Crazy foreigners making people disappear in their special aeroplanes. Who wouldn't leave?
Meanwhile, a scene from the north-west frontier of Surrey last night; I walk into my local 24-hour calorie shop and I'm immediately grilled about Pakistani politics, especially the Scotland Yard detectives going out. "Well, Musharraf obviously wants to look like he's investigating it," I said. Apparently Mr 10% getting to be the leader of the PPP is an Al-Qa'ida plot. I doubt it, but we agreed it was a stupid disaster.