A visit to any government department would reveal that most of the officers are absent from their offices on one context or the other. The most common excuse given by the PA of the officer is that "Sahib is in a meeting". These are in fact no meetings but social calls on other office colleagues or seniors for a hearty cup of Tea. The most productive time which an officer has to put in for work is somehow lost in these 'meetings'. A further bane is the subsequent practice of staying late after the office hours to, supposedly, finish the unfinished work, thus, putting enormous burden on official resources. Electricity bills, fuel utilization and the overtime to the lower staff simply add up to the burden upon the limited resources of the department. The developed nations follow one very simple rule of working 9 to 5 with not an extra minute spent in office after the normal working hours. Here we have the facade of working hard by counting number of hours and not taking into account the quality of work done. Let us bring an end to this charade of 'meetings' and 'over-staying' to finish the unfinished work. -DR IRFAN ZAFAR, Islamabad, via e-mail, August 10.