IRFAN Husain’s article ‘The best of both worlds’ (Dec 15) was disappointing. He may be correct in saying that recent predecessors of our high commissioner to Sri Lanka have not earned same popularity as herself, but it cannot be termed a crime.
No two envoys can be alike or cast in the same mould. I have not heard people talk highly of our high commissioner in the UK. He is also wrong in asserting that most of them were ‘serving or retired military officers’.
While self-praising his three decades in civil service, he should know that serving officers of armed forces are not deputed on ambassadorial appointments. I would like to be proven wrong in this regard.
The writer was unfortunate to serve under an air force officer in Washington who, in his opinion, lacked diplomatic skills; but does this hold good for all other military officers, or conversely, all the political appointees and even all career foreign service officers are full of all the required skills and qualifications?
His bias or lack of knowledge shows when he says that a high school’s diploma is what is needed to apply to join the military. He fails to mention that a commissioned officer earns a bachelor’s degree before he passes out from the PMA, the same minimum qualification required for applying for civil services. One can walk into the PMA right now and compare the standard of students and studies with the best institutions anywhere.
The writer castigates all military officers who join civil services. But one wonders if all military officers rise in the civil services only through contacts and manipulation and all others like Irfan Husain only on merit.
I would refer to the report by Khaleeq Kiani (Dec 15) wherein he tells us that the son-in-law of our prime minister rose to Grade 21 from Grade 18 in merely four years and is now being nominated for the lucrative appointment of WB executive director.
The writer should look carefully. I am sure he will find a military connection somewhere. I would like somebody to present figures, reflecting ratio/percentage of ex-military officers who attained Grades 21 and 22. I would also like somebody to present details of politically-appointed envoys, lacking an iota of qualification, experience or stature. Criticism is justified only when factual comparisons are made.
It is easy and fashionable to target military. However, for the sake of justice, facts must be mentioned and plausible comparisons must be drawn.
COL (Rtd) SYED M. MAZHAR