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.

The government is now in the process of allocating services to successful candidates of the 2007 CSS competition.

“This is an extremely serious trend,” a senior government servant told this correspondent, adding that because of the government’s apathy, the civil bureaucracy had lost its charm for the country’s talented and educated youth, who were now more interested in joining private jobs than what were once considered the prime Civil Services of Pakistan.

According to sources, last year too the government could not get enough number of successful CSS candidates to fill in the available posts. The last year’s deficiency was 47. A source in the Federal Public Service Commission said that the CSS competitors were mostly average and below average these days because of which even those who just met the minimum threshold were inducted into the Civil Services. Although, President Musharraf’s devolution plan that had abolished the office of deputy commissioner was considered a serious blow to the attractions of the Civil Service structure, it was actually the military regime’s indifference towards the reformation of civil bureaucracy that led to the present sorry state of affairs.

Different reform proposals were made but the military regime never had the time to approve any of them. Interestingly, different organisations were made for the purpose, a large amount of taxpayers’ money was spent but the status quo never changed.

To further the deterioration of the Civil Services, the country’s civilian bureaucracy was militarised in a unique fashion with retired generals becoming virtual masters of their fate. For the first time in the history of the country’s Civil Services, almost every key aspect of the bureaucracy’ s service matter was given into the hands of retired generals. This situation in most cases continues even as of today.

From the civil servants initial appointment to early, mid career and senior level training, promotions and even the Civil Services reform agenda is today decided by ex-servicemen. Initial induction into the elite Civil Services groups and services is made through the Central Superior Services competition by the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC), whose chairman is a retired general, Lt Gen Shahid Hamid. Hamid is though not the first-ever chairman FPSC, this is for the first time that the FPSC today has three ex-servicemen as its members.
Those declared successful by the FPSC and later inducted into different services/groups of the Civil Services on the basis of merit and provincial/regional quota are sent to the Civil Services Academy, Lahore, for one year joint training.

The Civil Services Academy (CSA), Lahore, is today headed by retired Major General Sikandar Shami, who is the first-ever director general of the CSA coming from the Army. The CSA provides civil servants the basics of civilian bureaucracy. Sikandar Shami was previously director general of the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA), Lahore. NIPA is a civil service training institution that offers mandatory course for promotion to BS-19 officers. Without doing NIPA, an officer cannot be promoted to BS-20. Shami handled the NIPA quite strictly, on military lines, which was the reason that a number of
officers had declined to join NIPA, Lahore, and preferred to go to Peshawar, Quetta or Karachi.
All the provincial headquarters have one NIPA each. The Peshawar NIPA is also headed by a retired general i.e. Major General Akbar Saeed Awan. The NIPA Karachi too was led by retired Major General Khalid Naeem while NIPA Quetta was led by a retired air force officer.

Not only, that ex-servicemen are the master trainers in NIPAs for mid-career officers, it is also a retired general Javed Hasan, who is the principal of Pakistan Administrative Staff College (PASC), Lahore.
To become eligible for promotion to BS-21, it is mandatory for government servants to attend either the civilian PASC or the military training institution called the National Defence College (NDC). The NDC always remained under the military though this is for the first time that the PASC is being led by a retired general.
Lt Gen (retd) Javed Hasan is not only the principal of the PASC but he is also the Rector of
the National School of Public Policy (NSPP), which was set-up a few years back to train and equip civil servants with the right skills to enable them to effectively do their jobs. The authors of the NSPP had never thought that a retired general would run the institution.
Under General Hasan, quite a few retired brigadiers and colonels are serving as master trainers in the top civilian training entity. For senior-level promotions to BS-20 and BS-21, it is the high-powered Central Selection Board (CSB) that recommends promotions. The CSB, interestingly, is headed by a retired general as well. The FPSC chairman Lt Gen (retd) Javed Hamid is also the chairman of the CSB.
There is yet another retired general, Maj General Asif Ali Bukhari, who heads the Civil Services Reforms Unit (CSRU), which is responsible for the Civil Service reforms in the country. The CSRU is responsible for formulating and presenting technical recommendations in order to support Civil Service reforms through outsourcing technical studies and organising seminars/workshops by involving all the stakeholders at the provincial and national level to develop consensus on various aspects of the Civil Service reforms. Bukhari has almost completed three years as head of the CSRU but no one knows what has been his contribution towards the reformation of the Civil Services so far.

7 Comments

Filed under civil service, Economy, public policy, state

7 responses to “Pakistan’s Civil Service Entry Exam Fails to fill Vacancies

  1. An amazing and eyes opening article.
    Really appreciate such efforts.

  2. meherban

    what else can be expected from a military state? if u dont mind your military taking care of all the profitable business in the God-given state, why worry about civil service alone? By the grace of musharraf we have the largest mercenary army in the world.Given the kind of training and outlook the army receives during career, it is simply impossible for them to understand the civil society.

  3. ZH

    well…a belated reading but must say it has disheartened me so much…wat can i say more…its all beyond belief…!

  4. Humayun.G.K

    Lets not be hopeless and try and start coming back to serve our Pakistan. We all know what the situation is, lets start working hard and build this nation in a wonderful mannar and put everything and everyone at its best place where they really belong, even our Generals who are from one of the finest group of ppl we have and all due respect to them for their efforts for the country. Lets generate compitent people to replace them. May ALLAH bless all of us. AMEEN.

  5. I am suffering from very sorry to hear about this that pakistan government is so negligiable that it could not full fill civil superior services (CSS) vacancies in 2007 to recent.Recent authorised person ought to do attend to the education of the pakistani mass.

    King Regards,

    Zulfiqar Ali Mughal
    Address; Kotli Nathu Malhi Ditt& Teh.Narowl Punjab Pakistan

  6. Appeal to the President of my beloved country

    Dear Readers: Pakistan is under threat from a minority of radical extremists who have nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with grabbing state power and nuclear weapons to create chaos and anarchy in the world. My country has a rich history of music, dance, poetry, art and literature. All will be lost and more if the Taliban and al-Qaeda are not confronted decisively by the Pakistani state, army and its people. This is a letter to Pakistan’s president from an organization called Concerned Citizens of Pakistan. I hope it will enlighten you. Zulfiqar Ali Mughal.

    Dear President Asif Ali Zardari:

    We the citizens of Pakistan are angry and dismayed at the abject capitulation of the state of Pakistan before the Taliban insurgents in Swat. With one stroke of the pen, you and the Parliament have signed away any real prospects of a stable, tolerant and progressive Pakistan as envisioned by its founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

    Leaving aside the merits or demerits of the so-called Nizam a Adal Regulation, we believe that any agreement signed at the point of a gun and under threats from violent extremists can never lead to a lasting and just peace. It has now become clear how naïve the government has been in thinking that the Taliban could be contained in Swat.
    Since you signed the Regulation, the Taliban have stated that that they don’t intend to lay down their arms, have called into question the legitimacy of the Parliament and Supreme Court, and declared the intent to impose their own brand of violent and brutal Sharia law not only in the rest of Pakistan but across the world! This is proof positive that the real aim of the Taliban is to seize power through brutal force and intimidation.
    We recognize that it was the failure or unwillingness of the Army to carry out its basic duty of fighting the extremists, which left political forces in the country with limited options for dealing with the insurgency. We reject the argument that the Pakistan army did not fight a counter insurgency because it did not want to kill its own people.

    The army and security agencies of the country did not display any such qualms and reservations when they, under orders of the governments’ of the day, shot and killed hundreds of Pakistani’s – who were deemed a threat to the state — in east Pakistan during 1971, the MRD protestors in Sindh in 1984, and Baloch insurgents over the last 40 years. One is forced to ask the question, are the lives of some Pakistani’s more precious than others in the eyes of the establishment of Pakistan?

    We realize that the dark clouds of obscurantism hanging over our country are the direct result of a ‘Jehadi’ mindset within the civil and military establishment, which has for decades fostered and pandered to religious zealots and regressive forces in the country.

    None of the above, however, absolves you and the government from mobilizing the state machinery and the people of Pakistan against the existential threat facing us; the ‘buck stops with you, Mr. President!’

    It is incumbent upon you to compel the Pakistan Army to come to the aid of a constitutionally elected government and enforce the writ of the state in Swat and other troubled regions of Pakistan.

    You must urge the Supreme Court of Pakistan to exercise the full extent of its authority to safeguard fundamental rights of all citizens including those of Swat.

    The failure of the government to evolve a counter-narrative to the Taliban propaganda is dereliction of the highest order. The government must immediately devise and implement a strategy for countering the insidious propaganda by and in support of the Taliban, which fills newspaper columns and airwaves.

    Peace, Mr. President, cannot come by ceding territorial control to armed insurgents or by agreeing to their illegitimate demands, as has been done in Swat. Countries that have faced violent insurgencies in the past — Colombia, Egypt, Algeria — did not succeed in their wars by negotiating from a position of weakness, or by burying their heads in the sand. These countries employed all means, including the use of force, to fight those who sought to seize power and territory through violent means.

    Mr. President, we too must fight the Taliban, who have chosen to fight against the state and who routinely terrorize and kill innocent Pakistanis. It is incumbent upon you to mobilize the nation against the scourge of the Taliban before it is too late.

    History and the people of this country will never forgive you if you fail to show leadership now.

    By Zulfiqar Ali Mughal
    Address; Village;Kotli Nathu Malhi Teh & Distt.Narowal Punjab Pakistan

    ——————————————————————————–

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    2 Comments
    Filed under Pakistan
    Tags: Pakistan, poetry, Art, Islam, Dance, Taliban, Literature, Music, Al Qaeda, Concerned Citizens of pakistan

    2 Comments
    Appeal to the President of Pakistan
    April 25, 2009 at 3:12 pm
    […] Original post by yasserlatifhamdani […]
    Gorki
    April 25, 2009 at 7:30 pm
    I think this letter should be circulated among as many Pakistanis as possible, in and out of Pakistan and using all possible means.

    It should also be posted on all blogs with similar readership (such as ATP etc.), mailed to newspapers, and to other Pakistani organisations.

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    King Regards,

    Zulfiqar Ali Mughal
    Address; Kotli Nathu Malhi Ditt& Teh.Narowl Punjab Pakistan

  7. Appeal to the President of my beloved country Pakistan

    Dear Readers: Pakistan is under threat from a minority of radical extremists who have nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with grabbing state power and nuclear weapons to create chaos and anarchy in the world. My country has a rich history of music, dance, poetry, art and literature. All will be lost and more if the Taliban and al-Qaeda are not confronted decisively by the Pakistani state, army and its people. This is a letter to Pakistan’s president from an organization called Concerned Citizens of Pakistan. I hope it will enlighten you.
    King Regards,
    Zulfiqar Ali Mughal
    Address; Kotli Nathu Malhi Teh & Distt. Narowal Punjab Pakistan.

    Dear President Asif Ali Zardari,

    We the citizens of Pakistan are angry and dismayed at the abject capitulation of the state of Pakistan before the Taliban insurgents in Swat. With one stroke of the pen, you and the Parliament have signed away any real prospects of a stable, tolerant and progressive Pakistan as envisioned by its founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

    Leaving aside the merits or demerits of the so-called Nizam a Adal Regulation, we believe that any agreement signed at the point of a gun and under threats from violent extremists can never lead to a lasting and just peace. It has now become clear how naive the government has been in thinking that the Taliban could be contained in Swat.
    Since you signed the Regulation, the Taliban have stated that they don’t intend to lay down their arms, have called into question the legitimacy of the Parliament and Supreme Court, and declared the intent to impose their own brand of violent and brutal Sharia law not only in the rest of Pakistan but across the world! This is proof positive that the real aim of the Taliban is to seize power through brutal force and intimidation.
    We recognize that it was the failure or unwillingness of the Army to carry out its basic duty of fighting the extremists, which left political forces in the country with limited options for dealing with the insurgency. We reject the argument that the Pakistan army did not fight a counter insurgency because it did not want to kill its own people.

    The army and security agencies of the country did not display any such qualms and reservations when they, under orders of the governments’ of the day, shot and killed hundreds of Pakistani’s – who were deemed a threat to the state — in east Pakistan during 1971, the MRD protestors in Sindh in 1984, and Baloch insurgents over the last 40 years. One is forced to ask the question, are the lives of some Pakistani’s more precious than others in the eyes of the establishment of Pakistan?

    We realize that the dark clouds of obscurantism hanging over our country are the direct result of a ‘Jehadi’ mindset within the civil and military establishment, which has for decades fostered and pandered to religious zealots and regressive forces in the country.

    None of the above, however, absolves you and the government from mobilizing the state machinery and the people of Pakistan against the existential threat facing us; the ‘buck stops with you, Mr. President!’

    It is incumbent upon you to compel the Pakistan Army to come to the aid of a constitutionally elected government and enforce the writ of the state in Swat and other troubled regions of Pakistan.

    You must urge the Supreme Court of Pakistan to exercise the full extent of its authority to safeguard fundamental rights of all citizens including those of Swat.

    The failure of the government to evolve a counter-narrative to the Taliban propaganda is dereliction of the highest order. The government must immediately devise and implement a strategy for countering the insidious propaganda by and in support of the Taliban, which fills newspaper columns and airwaves.

    Peace, Mr. President, cannot come by ceding territorial control to armed insurgents or by agreeing to their illegitimate demands, as has been done in Swat. Countries that have faced violent insurgencies in the past — Colombia, Egypt, Algeria — did not succeed in their wars by negotiating from a position of weakness, or by burying their heads in the sand. These countries employed all means, including the use of force, to fight those who sought to seize power and territory through violent means.

    Mr. President,
    we too must fight the Taliban, who have chosen to fight against the state and who routinely terrorize and kill innocent Pakistanis. It is incumbent upon you to mobilize the nation against the courge of the Taliban before it is too late.

    History and the people of this country will never forgive you if you fail to show leadership now.
    shall satisfy you.

    Hoping,Sir,that you will kindly give me a chance of consideration.
    With best wishes,
    King Regards,
    Mr.Zulfiqar Ali Mughal
    Address; Village Kotli Nathu Malhi Tehseel & District Narowal Punjab Pakistan