Barister Aitzaz Ahsan, who all along took the view that there was no harm in writing a letter to Swiss authorities, has suddenly taken an about turn, and is now strongly advocating that the letter should not be written. His main reason for this stance is that the foreigners look after their compatriots well and take them out of difficult situations abroad. Hence, we should not throw our citizens, especially the President, before a Swiss magistrate.

However, he seems to have ignored the fact that there is not much of a tradition in Pakistan for looking after its citizens. While some commendable steps have been taken by the democratic government, like giving overseas Pakistan the right to vote and some welfare schemes started at home, the measures in no way meet the challenge and a greater percentage of the people seems to be going below the poverty line, with increasing cases of people committing suicides and attempting to sell, even killing their children out of sheer poverty. We also saw how despite clear warning of an impending disaster, a large number of Pakistani Hajis were left at the mercy of some unscrupulous Haj operators and officials. Another recent example that comes to mind is that of our soldiers at Salala post, lightly armed to deal only with militants, who fought valiantly against a vicious, well-equipped airborne enemy unit, but failed to get timely and adequate reinforcements. And now talking to journalists at his residence, the Prime Minister disclosed that Pakistan never sought an apology for the deadly, deliberate and unprovoked attack on Salala post and never made it a precondition for normalising Pak-US relations (Dawn, March 19). So you see, we do not have much of a tradition for coming to the rescue of our people in distress, which Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan is trying to invoke.

S.R.H. HASHMI,

Karachi, March 21.