Open Letter to Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman by Mr. Naeem Sadiq
Dear Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman,
Thank you for inviting me and my wife for a dinner on 6th October 2009 at the PAF Museum. I deeply regret that I would be away from the city on that day, and would not be able to join you at the dinner.
The invitation is accompanied by a set of nine documents, plastic cards, stamps, envelopes and metal clips. These are:
- A map of the location and entry points
- A self addressed envelope for acknowledgement
- A four rupee stamp
- A printed card that has various options stated on it, such as I will come alone, with wife or will not be able to attend.
- A large invitation card stating that the Air Chief Marshal wishes to invite you for a dinner.
- A laminated plastic card that has my name printed in bold letters
- A small zip lock plastic bag containing a metal clip. This clip can be removed from the bag and assembled with the plastic card so that one may display one’s name on the chest pocket.
- A TCS envelope containing all these materials. (TCS charges Rs.50 for delivery within city and Rs.120 for delivery outside the city.)
- A yellow printed car parking ticket
I guess that this entire package and the logistics for its preparation and delivery would cost approximately Rs 200 per invitation package. Assuming that it was sent to some 1000 guests, it would mean that the PAF would have spent Rs 200,000 on the invitation cards alone. The dinner itself would be a separate story.
A week before the receipt of this card, I received a phone call from PAF Base Faisal to confirm if I would be able to attend the dinner or not. I politely regretted and knowing the cost and complexity of the invitation package insisted that I may not be sent any invitation card, as it would amount to waste of public money.
Dear Air Chief Marshal. Pakistan is in a state of war. Pakistan is under a debt of 52 billion dollars. Pakistan has no electricity to full time run its factories. The list is endless. Perhaps in circumstances like these, every penny spent from the tax payers’ money needs to be carefully considered and controlled.
You may reconsider both the need and the manner of having such dinners and invitations. While the armed forces must continue to maintain good traditions, they should be conspicuous by their dignity, simplicity and low cost.