FEDERAL Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira was shooting his mouth off in a meeting with journalists, about Dr Afias case. It was really shocking to hear him say that the government will not ask the US to repatriate her. The comment flies in the face of the popular sentiment and has greatly embarrassed the voices calling out to rescue the hapless woman from the sticky situation. Had Mr Kaira said the same, if his own daughter had met with such a fate? His callous disregard for this daughter of the nation, demonised by the US as a terrorist to sling mud on the dignity and credibility of the Pakistani public and Diaspora is condemnable. Has he any idea of the suffering of her family, her children who have also gone missing and the baseless theory that she had tried to assassinate a group of US commandos in Afghanistan single-handedly? Or was he too timid to annoy the Americans? In the first place, it was obligatory for the government to leave no stone unturned in securing her release, since it is beyond any doubt that she was handed over to the US by General Musharraf in dubious circumstances. Secondly, Mr Kairas statement also shows that the government is run by individuals who give priority to pursuing their own selfish motives, rather than safeguarding the rights of the masses. Likewise, it is not hard to predict his response about a number of other persons handed over to the US, whose families here in Pakistan have been trying hard to know their whereabouts. On the one hand, they have sided with the US and on the other, they have turned out to be yellow livered in holding the intelligence agencies accountable for illegal acts like picking up innocent citizens in broad daylight. By any reckoning, the missing persons are the victims of arbitrariness of various agencies, and a proof of the pro-US policies formed by the previous regime and unflinchingly endorsed by the present leadership. Their tragedy has also brought home to the public the fact that the governments commitment towards the people was skin deep. Their case has been dragging on and on and the hope that the civilian dispensation would ensure their release has further receded into oblivion. Mr Kairas comments would deeply inflame the public feeling. Coming from a member of a democratically elected government, these remarks have invariably dismayed the general patriotic Pakistanis, particularly their confidence in the civilian set-up. They were right in expecting virtually nothing from General Musharraf on account of his being a usurper. Yet in Pakistan demcratic appearances can be deceptive.