A report appearing in a national daily on August 7 says officials of the Federal Ministry of Health have wasted an amount of Rs 23m on a picnic at state expense in salubrious Bhurban hotel resort. An entire troupe of the ministry officials booked 40 rooms in this five-star hotel and stayed here for four nights along with their kith and kin. The reported reason for this urge to splurge was a foreign loan equivalent of Rs 23 million that had to be spent this year and what better way to spend it than to enjoy a five-star family holiday at state expense? Although we, as a nation, are known for indulging on borrowed money, this brazen misappropriation of foreign funds reserved for improving our public health facilities, is absolutely criminal. Wasting foreign aid in such a shameless manner will not only deprive us of whatever little respect we are left with in the comity of nations but will also lose us sympathy in the times of our compelling need. Therefore, whosoever is found involved in this outrageous scandal be investigated thoroughly and made accountable before the nation. -QAZI BASHIR AHMED, Hyderabad, via e-mail, August 11.