I am in a pleasant frame of mind today as regards the theme of this week’s column. This is a departure from ‘between the lines anger’ that is often visible in what I write. The reasons for my current happiness and hope lie in some recent back to back experiences and events.

It began with a morning visit to the Headquarters of the National Data Base Registration Authority or NADRA in Islamabad, accompanied by my daughter. This trip was necessitated by the theft of my daughter’s handbag from a restaurant in Houston USA and the resultant loss of some cash, valuables, credit card and the National Identity Card.

After having obtained permission to enter the building (which incidentally has a pleasantly warm interior), I was guided courteously to the concerned department. Generally accustomed to cold, bureaucratic and impersonal behavior in Government Departments, I was surprised at the speed and understanding with which my case was handled. I looked around me to discover that I was not an exception, but others with NIC problems were being dealt with in the same manner. My daughter will now receive her card via mail in an unbelievably short time.

My visit also coincided with the news that NADRA’s Chairman Mr. Tariq Malik had been reinstated and that the High Court had deemed his termination, a few days ago, as illegal and without sufficient cause. It was pure journalistic curiosity that prompted me to chit chat with the staff, while my daughter’s case was being processed. I found that in spite of the fact that he was a political appointee of the PPP Government, Mr. Malik carried an outstanding professional reputation. The NADRA boss was known to be a competent IT man, who was instrumental in implementing the ‘smart card’ concept in Pakistan. This card is now replacing the old NIC in a phased process and offers multidimensional services to holders, as and when these features are activated. This gives me hope that perhaps one of these days my grandchildren will live in an environment free of corruption, for automated technology does not lie nor can be bribed.

Some quarters are suggesting that the sacking of Chairman NADRA was linked to his insistence in performing the electoral ‘thumb print-check’ on some controversial PML-N ‘wins’ during the recent general elections. This thumb print verification is reportedly on the cards in response to electoral complaints filed by the PTI. If the above exercise proves Imran Khan’s allegations and overturns some results, it will cause great embarrassment to the PML-N government.

The other incident was my recent and rather reluctant trip to the Islamabad Passport Office to get my Machine Readable Passport. My reluctance stemmed from the fact that I get terribly upset at the mess that rules official public service windows. Here again I was proved in error, because I found orderly queues and helpful staff, who were not hesitant to put defaulters back in line. I breezed through the various stages and had my green book in my hands within ten days.

The appointment of the new Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee and the Chief of the Army Staff is also a source of satisfaction for the nation. The two newly promoted four stars are figures, who have no baggage attached to their names and have the reputation of being thorough professionals. Satisfaction also springs from the fact that these appointments have been done in line with the Constitution of Pakistan.

So by and large, the weeks gone by have been good and should provide much satisfaction to the senior bureaucrat, who walked up to me some time ago, during a social gathering and asked me as to why I did not write anything good about the Government. This individual was much chagrined, when I told him that I would definitely do so, provided the Government did something good for me to dwell on.

The writer is a freelance columnist.