As a former Chief of Protocol, I was shocked to see President Zardari's two daughters flanking him while he received the credentials of a foreign ambassador. Presentation of credentials by a designated envoy to the head of state is a very formal, solemn, dignified and exclusive ceremony. Besides the Chief of Protocol, the only other civilian official required to be present on this occasion is the Foreign Secretary. Deviation from this universally acknowledge practice, which we saw the other day in our Presidency, is unprecedented. Civilised countries conduct their business by strictly adhering to the established laws, rules, norms and precedence as ignoring or flouting them weakens the fabric of the state. Protocol is one such instrument that ensures the dignity, decorum and smooth functioning of state institutions. President Zardari a novice in the art of governance. I think he has to be made to realise that there is a vast difference between conducting affairs of the state and his personal business. While in the former situation, there is no place for his likes, dislikes or whims, in the latter case he is free to act the way he likes. His proclivity for giving precedence to his children over federal ministers and high government officials, as evidenced in a recent formal meeting between him and a visiting foreign delegation, is wrong and distasteful. Similarly, his drift towards a dynastic role, which usually transcends into dictatorship, is unacceptable. AMBASSADOR AMIR USMAN, Islamabad, July 29.