Monthly Archives: April 2008

Pakistan’s Civil Service Entry Exam Fails to fill Vacancies

Raza Rumi

Is it the case that finally the centuries old steelframe is getting irrelevant in the fast changing urban Pakistan. In a country of 170 million, there were not enough competent and interested candidates to fill up the vacancies for the competitive examination. If on one hand, this trend betrays the decline of institutions, on the other it spells doom for the future of Pakistan’s governance. There can be no compromise on a capable civil service to manage and implement policies. Singapore and many other countries attract the best and here we are, with massive unemployment, not finding enough people to fill the vacancies. Yes the private sector is more attractive and perhaps should be but what about state’s regulatory and redistributive functions?

CSS Exam fails to fill 100 vacancies – Daily News, 4/25/08
ISLAMABAD: The country’s Civil Services structure is facing an unprecedented downfall with educated youth losing interest in civil bureaucracy as the latest Central Superior Services (CSS) competition could not even produce the number of successful candidates against the available posts. Against the total 290 available posts, the number of successful candidates in the 2007 CSS competition was merely 190, leaving almost 100 vacancies unoccupied till fresh induction is made through the next CSS competition. Continue reading


Filed under civil service, Economy, public policy, state

The Rainbow Catchers

One in combination of blue with straight hair
The other draws her picture in search,
For objects of life, around her and its sounds
The other in rainbow colours, with curly hair
As the animals come into existence- alive
With elaborations by hands and gestures
The rainbow colour, says through expressions
Close to their mountain, as both play
As eyes shifts its gaze from one corner
To another, as the view unfolds
The one with curls, with flowers on her skin
As butterflies invite them to play
blue with her elephants and learning alphabets
with dinosaurs and her language broken
as life pours out innocence from their eyes
on the movement, the caravan of colour
daggers are the pencils in their hands
as the paper turn into planes,
as pictures turn into animals
in air, the rainbow and hands that join
in appreciation, and in fury for more
as circles and squares transform
caricatures of hands, as we stare!


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Filed under History, poetry, Writers

Justice in Pakistan – some disturbing reflections

Posted by Raza Rumi

An anonymous contributor at the Friday Times talks about how the murder of a family member raised painful questions about Pakistani society

When an incident occurs which should never have taken place – an anomaly, a tragedy – the first question that springs to mind is, who is to blame? It has been two years since my uncle’s body was found, decaying in his own blood, two years since he was murdered in his house, in his own sanctuary. I have had enough time to distance myself from the tragedy and view the events in a more rational way. But is there anyway to rationalise the murder of an innocent man, whose only crime was that he could not afford to live anywhere but in a small apartment in an unsafe area of Karachi?

As I sit safely in America and think about his murder, I am confronted with the question of my own identity. Who is a Karachiite? I strive to answer this question. To me, a Karachiite is a jaded individual, who invariably knows someone who has been the victim of a crime or is a helpless victim of fear and loathing himself. Yet tragedy and fear never strike hard enough until they hit home, and that is when you realise how real crime is. It’s not just some cool scene from a pyscho thriller flick. Continue reading


Filed under Karachi, musings, public policy, Society, state

Pakistan: What other kind of change?

By Ayesha Siddiqa adding to the debate on the changing Pakistan…

IN a recent article titled ‘Another kind of change’ Akbar Zaidi tried to make us believe in changes occurring in Pakistan without properly contextualising them. According to the writer, Pakistan is no longer feudal, traditional and rural nor is its economy agrarian. Although it is not stated in this fashion, the underlying tone of the article is that the country has moved to become a more modern society. Let us see if the arguments hold.

First, do the changes in the land tenure system and the separation between labour and capital, which is how traditionally feudalism is defined, make Pakistan non-feudal? Besides the economic dimension, there is the socio-political dimension as well. The structures of power remain the same. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizens, Pakistan, Society

The smile on your face

Once before you knocked at my door,
while i stood outside in the pouring rain,
like i am today. Only
this time you don’t see me.
Perhaps cos the clouds are darker,
or your parasol more enchanting,
or my sorry state less pitiful.

Perhaps the smile on my face is
really actually yours at the thought
of losing me to Mother Earth, though
i’m not too sure what the old biddy
would have to say, what with
her trips to fertility clinics
proving unproductive thus far.

minos – april 2008

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Filed under poetry

Memoirs of Mistakes

Come they all to see this land
Forgetful and distant, from its past
The long walks and adventure
In search for peace and comfort
Lend me your ears my friend
Let me recite words of freedom,
In ways different than yours,
From a distant land
As I write in its abate
Memoirs of mistakes!



Filed under poetry, Writers

“Musheer” Video- when music articulates politics

by Raza Rumi

A group of young firebrand revolutionaries – alas what an alien word it has become these days – has created this fabulous music video. The inspiration is a poem by Habib Jalib called “Musheer” (advisor) that Jalib composed as a satire against Hafiz Jalandari during Ayub Khan’s era. As the man on the guitars, Taimur Rahman says, “It is equally valid today”. 

The vocalist is “comrade” Shahram Azhar and Mrs Rahman is in the background. Of course the trio are activists of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party. Taimur Khan helped them produce it. I must say that Shahran’s voice is quite soothing.

At least the Left is not dead in Pakistan – we need plural voices against neo-liberalism for an egalitarian and more just Pakistan. A detailed introduction is below: Continue reading


Filed under Left, movements, Music, Pakistan, Politics, video, youth