L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Musharraf’s homecoming a blunder

Former Pakistan President and Chief of Army Staff Gen Pervez Musharraf’s voluntary homecoming after a self-imposed exile in London and his subsequent arrest has not only surprised the world but also raised a welter of doubts on his abilities (S Nihal Singh’s article, Musharraf a commando at heart, April 23).

As a military commander, Musharraf has been invariably blamed for serious miscalculations, attributed mainly to his overweening self-confidence, stubbornness and impulsiveness, the qualities unbecoming of an astute politician. Like his past misdemeanours, such as the Kargil operation, subversion of the Constitution and the dismissal and confinement of Supreme Court judges, he, this time too, miserably failed to gauge the changed political landscape in the country. How could he fulfil his political ambition and ‘save’ Pakistan in the face of stiff opposition from the main political parties, scant public support and a raft of criminal charges pending against him?

He also wrongly thought that the army would come to his rescue. Pakistan’s future depends on what stance the army takes during Musharraf’s legal battle. Given the escalation in election-related violence and deteriorating law and order situation, it is being felt that some vested interests may try to postpone the elections and derail the process of democracy in Pakistan.

India is watching this keenly as it knows only a strong democratic set-up in Pakistan would help ease tensions with the western neighbour.

DS KANG, Hoshiarpur

Aadhaar anomalies

Aadhaar card has wide utility but its large size makes it difficult to carry it with ease. One finds a dotted line almost in the middle of the card dividing it into two parts. The lower portion contains the card and the upper portion has a forwarding letter.

A scissor logo is marked along the dotted line that indicates that it is to be cut there and only the bottom portion, that contains all particulars of the card-holder, including the photograph, is required to be retained and carried. It is an absurd exercise requiring the card-holder to separate one portion of the card from the other by cutting it and spoiling the lamination in the process. There should have been a separate forwarding letter to which the card should have been annexed and dispatched to the holder.

There is another anomaly which needs to be corrected. The card mentions only the year of birth. The card should have complete date of birth for its wider utility. All future cards, therefore, should be changed accordingly. Those already issued should be recalled and replaced with new ones.


Officers’ shortage

This is in reference to news reportArmy weighs options to check officers’ shortage, stagnation (22 April). The present shortage of officers in the Army cannot be addressed by some short-term plan. The focus should be on short service commissioned officers (SSCO). Apart from increasing their monetary benefits, the government should think about their re-employment and resettlement. After serving the Army for 10 to 14 years, these officers have their family and children to take care of.  Short service commissioned officers undergo the same training and perform similar operations as regular commissioned officers.

The SSCOs released with disabilities due to service stress and strains are not granted pension and medical facilities like ECHS. The government is treating the SSCOs like an extra baggage. The need is to change the attitude towards the SSCOs. The young brigade does not find the armed forces as an attractive career.

This is primarily due to faulty policies. Though the Ajai Vikram Singh Committee set up by the Ministry of Defence has done a good job, but it should have kept in mind the problem in totality. One cannot recruit officers in the SSC cadre as mercenaries and then leave them in wilderness with a meagre amount of Rs10 lakh. The government must plan a substantial release package — including monetary benefits, pension and medical facilities like ECHS --- for the SSCOs. They should be promised re-employment in the Central and state services with benefits of seniority and pay protection. The SSCOs with their enriching experience are a national asset and they must be utilised gainfully.


Honest babus

The Union Government approves plans, frames policies and provides funds for public works, better amenities and uplift of the poor. The responsibility of implementing various schemes is on bureaucrats. However, at times, bureaucrats in connivance with politicians misappropriate funds.

As a result, the benefits of government schemes are not able to reach the targeted groups. The editorial ‘Masters, not servants (April 23) rightly pointed out that resourceful officers manage plum posts and try every trick in the book to please politicians. 

The need of the hour is that bureaucrats maintain high moral standards and do not fall prey to the evil designs of politicians. The civil servants should not yield to pressure tactics adopted by politicians and implement government policies sincerely, irrespective of their postings.

 OP GARG, Patiala



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