Ambassadors (and doctors) galore! | By Khalid Saleem


Ambassadors (and doctors) galore!

IF one were to single out two elements in which this country stands out, one may not be entirely inaccurate in putting the finger on the number of ‘Doctors’ and ‘Ambassadors’ this land has been minting out – for reasons that can only be classed as dubious!

For instance, not a month passes without the media reporting the debut of yet another ‘Ambassador’ and several ‘Doctors’.

If the Guinness Book of Records were to spread its reach and add a record for the number of ‘Doctors’ and ‘Ambassadors’ per square mile of a territory, Pakistan would win hands down.

Before one proceeds any further, a clarification may be called for.When one makes mention of “Ambassadors’ and ‘Doctors’, one is not referring to the genuine variety.

One refers instead to the ones that masquerade under these ‘chapeau’ titles in this blessed land, for reasons only they themselves can fathom.

Not all that long ago, the local media had sprung a further four ‘ambassadors’ on an unsuspecting public.

In a colourful advertisement put in by a public sector organization, the public at large was introduced to four ‘Road Safety Ambassadors’.

What duties these new-found ‘ambassadors’ are inducted to perform and what are their ‘responsibilities’ is anybody’s guess!

For that matter, in the not too distant past, there were also several individuals who had been designated as ‘Goodwill Ambassadors’ mostly for obscure, and obtuse, causes.

Not to forget, over the recent past, several comely ladies had been promoted by the media as ‘Brand Ambassadors’!

Apparently they were supposed to be introducing and promoting certain cosmetic products. Not to overlook a popular newspaper that had a ‘Youth Ambassador’ writing in its pages.

In the public sector, a horde of gentlemen are inducted as ‘Ambassadors at Large’ by every successive government.

The function and/or duties of these ‘Ambassadors at Large’ were never quite specified and they fade away after every change in government.

One has no reason to question the ethics of such inductions both in the private and public sectors.

What is intriguing, nevertheless, is the fact that the appellation ‘Ambassador’ is used in each case.

Why call these chaps ‘Ambassadors’ in the first place is the moot question? The dictionary defines ‘Ambassador’ as “A minister of high rank representing his or her country at a foreign court or government”.

Further, if the ambassador in question is designated as a ‘plenipotentiary’, it connotes that he or she is armed with full powers to sign treaties etc.

This definition would make clear that the designation of a certain individual as ‘Ambassador’ carries with it a certain connotation that dignifies the person and, at the same time, assigns to him or her responsibilities that should under no circumstances be taken lightly.

By the way, not too long ago there was the designation of an ‘Ambassador for Women’s Empowerment’?

The mind boggles!What ambassadorship has got to do with ‘women’s empowerment’ defies imagination. One could go on and on!

Coming now to the designation ‘doctor’, one begins with the caveat that one does not refer to the individual who practices in the medical profession and slaves away saving human lives.

All honour to him or her engaged in this noble profession particularly in this phase of the Pandemic.

Nor does one allude to those who, after strenuous research, have successfully earned a ‘doctorate’ in a designated field.

All honour to the latter too. One refers instead to those who continue to append ‘Doctor’ to their names, merely after having somehow passed a ‘medical’ examination and then abandoned the profession in their search for greener pastures.

One recalls an instance as an officer in the diplomatic service, when one was informed by the hosts that one’s designated successor was a PhD.

As it turned out the officer in question had apparently passed his MBBS examination before appearing in his CSS examination.

Several persons working in myriad professions in this blessed land have ‘doctor’ appended to their name for dubious reasons that call for elucidation.

Reverting back to the so-called ‘Ambassadors at large’, these entities should logically be designated strictly on the basis of immediate need and for a limited time period.

Pakistan has had several instances where certain persons were designated as such and proved serious liabilities for the country and even the government of the day.

All these individuals apparently did was to obtain diplomatic passports of the country and then to use them for their own selfish ends.

The matter of the elusive and ever expanding horde of ‘Ambassadors’ and ‘doctors’ in this blessed land needs to be put under the microscope so that their expertise can be harnessed for the good of the society and the country.

If there is sign of reluctance on the part of either, then they and/or their sponsors should be advised to latch on to appellations other than the ones that continue to be (mis)used at present. But that, as they say, is another story.

— The writer is a former Ambassador and former Assistant Secretary General of OIC.


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