If we analyse the problems facing our country, we would find that most of these are owing to the fact that we have ignored merit all along and done grave injustice (both in the legal and social sense) to our people. Mr. Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the present Chief Justice of Pakistan, is fully cognizant of the issues that have put us in the present mess. While the political parties, big or small, have mostly disappointed us in this regard, the Chief Justice has single-handedly done a lot in his own capacity to save this nation from absolute disaster. In this context, he has taken the foremost steps needed in the Judicial Policy that was announced last week. While this Judicial Policy is very comprehensive in many respects, it has ignored one crucial aspect altogether; the appointment of the law officers by the federal and provincial governments. The law officers are appointed by the federal and provincial governments to pursue their legal cases. Previously, only lawyers of great eminence were appointed to these posts as they handled all civil, criminal and constitutional cases. These officers enjoyed the status of gazetted officers of BPS-l8, 19 and 20. During the Musharraf era, the ADB offered aid under a programme called 'Access to Justice'. The ADB funds were used to create a separate Prosecution Branch to deal with criminal matters. There are over 70 lawyers in the Prosecution Branch. There is absolutely no system for appointment of these law officers on merit. Surprisingly, there is no examination by the Supreme Court, the High Courts or the Public Service Commission for these posts. All appointments are made through executive fiat on 'sifarish' or personal contacts. Since the Chief Justice is trying to put the judicial house in order, so to speak, he should ensure that transparency and merit is ensured in appointments of all law officers. -M. HUSSAIN, Lahore, May 20.