Justices (R) Nasira Iqbal   Last week I read about two events in the press, one which made headlines, while the other remained hidden in the inside pages of a few newspapers. The first event was the release of Mr. Tariq Azizuddin, Pakistan's Ambassador to Kabul, after being held hostage for more than a hundred days. The other event was the death anniversary of Hammad Raza (Deputy Registrar) Supreme Court of Pakistan, who was murdered in cold blood last year. He was known for his professional integrity and his impeccable honesty. The police investigation team claimed that the assassins were dacoits; whereas his family asserted that nothing of value was stolen or taken away from the house, except the life of Hammad. Therefore, it appears to be a targeted killing. Regarding the release of Ambassador Tariq Azizuddin, Mr. Rahman Malik, the Advisor to the Interior Ministry, claimed that nothing was given or exchanged for the release of Mr. Tariq Azizuddin. Mr. Azizuddin and his family, in their statements to the press, were notably restrained in their remarks. Both Mr. Azizuddin and his wife stated that they were thankful to Allah Almighty and the Government of Pakistan for his release, and that he would always be available to perform his duties as Ambassador despite the ordeal he had endured for hundred days. A person of lesser courage and commitment would have succumbed to those tribulations and resigned from his post, or declined to return to Afghanistan in the given circumstances. Both the cases of Hammad and Tariq have seemingly nothing in common, except that they were trained professionals and were also patriots. The latter trait can be attributed to their family upbringing more than anything else. The tendency of political governments to appoint personal favorites and cronies to key diplomatic appointments and other key government posts, militates against these principles of professionalism and commitment. Their cronies are neither competent for the jobs nor accountable for their actions to the authorities. They are only answerable to their patrons who know even less about the requirements of the posts which they allot to their favorites. The other negative consequence of such patronage is that the professionals, who have been trained for their respective job disciplines, get frustrated when their seniority is ignored and top slots are distributed to undeserving persons as personal bounties. We are familiar with the examples of PIA, local Banks, WAPDA, various urban Development Authorities, Pakistan Cricket Control Board and many semi autonomous institutions in this regard. Demoralized professionals do not even dare to report on the questionable decisions of the bosses foisted upon them from above. They resign themselves to becoming captives of the proverbial glass ceiling which is generally meant to restrain enterprising women from rising above a certain position because of their gender We have recently elected a democratic government, which has been established by a grand coalition between many parties. This is the time to put our house in order by not resorting the tricks of the past referred above. Unfortunately, the tendency to adopt such tactics has been pronounced in the past ten weeks that the government has been functioning. If it wants to establish its democratic credentials, it is not too late even now to mend its ways. I urge the decision makers (who should be the elected representatives, not unelected persons) not to yield to the temptation of toadyism and favouritism and to allow true professionals and patriots to perform their duties according to their training and conscience. The illustrious examples of Hammad Raza and Tariq Azizuddin are before us. I salute both of them and their families.