Islamabad, November 11, 2009, the host of a TV news talk show disclosed to his viewers that the President of Pakistan has directed the concerned authorities in the government to compile a complete list of all orphan houses in the country along with names of fatherless children (meaning fathers unknown) and prepare their national identity cards. The president has directed the concerned administration to put his name, Asif Ali Zardari, in the space for "Father's Name" for all those children falling into this category. Indeed, a remarkable act of humanitarian concern. Isn't it? The programme host had yet added another gracious suggestion to the president's directive. Acknowledging the pious spirit of Islamic teachings in the "presidential orders", the said host suggested to all other Pakistani leaders, including Mian Nawaz Sharif, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Maulana Fazalur Rehman, Rehman Malik, Baber Awan and Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira to follow the president's suit. Of course, the female PPP leadership stands not to benefit from this kare-khair (the noble deed); that's how nature works. And yet, it is quite possible that Fauzia Wahab and other distinguished women leaders of the ruling party might insist on putting their names in the father's name slot as well, and thereby equally and wisely sharing the president's savab (reward of virtue) in this act of giving these children with unknown fathers a "Father". Earnestly, there seems nothing wrong with this kind of noble act. The point is: some believe that the ends justify the means Isn't that so? And this, indeed, is a noble cause The irony is that, philosophically and intellectually speaking, many people may not fully comprehend and completely understand the true nature and the fundamentals of this presidential directive. But the question that comes up is: Is this the nation's top priority? What about the other millions of Pakistani orphans (metaphorically speaking) who go without food, shelter, education, jobs, or adequate health and live in fear, poverty, deprivations, war at their doorsteps and lethal fire from drones and killing machines tearing their children, parents, old and young, neighbours, relatives and friends apart, demolishing their homes and taking away their meagre livelihoods. What about millions of displaced people of this country who are victims of the so-called War on Terror? There is something wrong here - fundamentally wrong There is an imbalance here in setting government priorities. "Noble deeds cannot wait," Farzana Raja, another presidential loyalist, would plead for her boss. Noble, and yet this act of presidential generosity is mis-timed and not politically sagacious. During such a serious national crisis as Pakistan is facing presently, a visionary leadership would be far more indulgent in finding solutions to the most pressing problems and setting priorities correctly to prove the administration's political management credentials. A capable leadership must prove its mettle by directly and constructively engaging in problem resolutions rather than devising diversionary tactics to manipulate public opinion. On the face of it, the proverbial "Father of the Nation" is desperately trying to score some favourable points to his widely perceived abysmal performance and commonly observed lack of sound judgment. The analogy is similar to Younis Khan, Pakistan's recently sacked cricket captain: dropping an easy catch, followed by errors of judgment on the field, has not earned him accolades of praise from the public. Instead he has been shown the door. Issues of national management, on the cricket field or in the country's presidency, cannot be handed over indefinitely to an incompetent captain or a team of inefficient managers. Defeats are human-made phenomena - they can be corrected by appropriate measures. What the presidential loyalists and PPP stalwarts do not understand is that the president and his entire government have lost credibility with the public, nationwide. It is not going to be restored with such insidious and inconsequential acts of craft-less public relations management: this presidency has to come up with far more imaginative, functional, proactive, consequential, substantive, dynamic and result-effective tools of national crisis management to continue to justify its public mandate than to demonstrate such poor capability at image-building. Coming back to the cricket analogy, Younis Khan dropped the "catch" because he suffered from a lapse of attention and was mentally "absent" from the action on the field - and lost the series to New Zealand because he mismanaged the selection of the players and demonstrated inherent weaknesses in his leadership style. The example fits the PPP president and his government perfectly. The point is: victories are also human-made phenomenon, but some simply cannot manage to achieve them The question is: Who conceptualised and conceived of the idea of the "Father of the Nation" (as I call it) campaign in the presidency? Do the image-making managers in the President House believe that this nation and its entire public can be railroaded with such cheap trivial paltriness? Obviously, orphan-hood is a human tragedy and a societal problem. But exploitation of this kind of intense personal suffering by political travesty cannot be allowed. The public relations pundits at the presidency did exactly that - in the process, they have demonstrated a lack of sophistication, exposing their susceptibility to the expertise of the art of political image building. In simple words: a team of incompetent public relations managers have the president's ear They have failed the president And yet, the president has failed himself After all, Younis Khan dropped the catch and lost the match Indeed, the defeat was on Khan's watch Can we blame someone else? I am afraid not... It simply does not work that way The fact is that no one, absolutely no one, is indispensable to the scheme of things on earth. Nations and systems do not crumble because someone departed the scene That is how nature works. C'est la vie. The writer is an academic, political analyst and conflict-resolution expert. Email: hl_mehdi@hotmail.com