Whereas the Civil Service of Pakistan is a beacon of hope for hundreds of educated youth in country, it is also dubbed as a relic of colonial era. As the officers in colonial era were selected for upholding the colonial agenda of British Raj through competitive exams known as Indian Civil Services (ICS) in pre-partition era has morphed into the Pakistan Civil Services (CSS) now. However, there is an exception maintained that goes in conflict with the spirit of merit. This exception is maintained for the armed forces of Pakistan. The induction of army officers into the civil service dates back to the Ayub Khan’s era when the President Ayub Khan, after the coup, had two serving army officers’ sons inducted into the civil services. Later, General Zia-ul-Haq gave this induction a legal cover. Since then, ten seats of CSS are reserved for armed forces personnel every year who enjoy the privilege of skipping the process of rigorous written examination of CSS that civilian candidates have to undergo. The army candidates are shortlisted by the General Headquarters of Military (GHQ) and only face interviews conducted by Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC).
Selection of favourits cannot be ruled out in this way. A leaf from history shall corroborate the claim. In his book ‘Profiles of Intelligence’ Brig (R) A.I Tirmazi mentions that while serving in Islamabad, they, the intelligence officers sent a letter to the then President Zia-ul-Haq that his young ADC was availing unfair benefits by misusing his power and position but the President turned a blind eye to their report. After few months during a visit to the United States, narcotics was seized from the presidential plane by the U.S authorities. After an inquiry, the same ADC was found guilty. Later, the author says they were expecting strict punishment but to their chagrin the same officer was inducted into the Civil Service and he started his services as Deputy Commissioner Islamabad. Whether the allegations made in the book are true or fabricated, the possibility of having favourits inducted into civil services cannot be ruled out.
It may be mentioned here that the same officer also headed National Accountability Bureau after retirement. Currently, Capt (R) Faseel Asghar is serving as the Chief Secretary of Balochistan. Can we expect good governance from our incumbent Chief Secretary who has entered the civil service through military induction? The past record of Faseel Asghar is also not clean. While serving as Commissioner Islamabad, he is alleged of facilitating an escape of a person to be on Exit Control List using his official authority and protocol.
These example are a few among many other cases. Don’t we think that this practice of induction into the civil service is harmful for the country and its people? Is it not unfair to those thousands of graduates who prepare day and night and appear in CSS exam and fail one paper, mostly essay by a margin numbers?
Instead of allocating 10 seats of CSS for armed forces every year, these seats should be made available for the appointment of the candidates who actually appear in the CSS examination. In this way, deserving and talented people can make to the civil services and also the politicization of the service can be prevented.
The writer is an M.S scholar, pursuing his degree in Economics from University of Balochistan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in the article are that of the writers’ own and do not reflect the policy of Bolan Tribune.