Category Archives: civil service

A Tale of Two Classes

This article was originally published in Dawn. It makes a very interesting read and makes some extremely incisive points.

By Muhammad Waseem

In Pakistan, two dominant classes compete with each other for influence and privilege. One is the middle class, which provides the catchment area for the civil bureaucracy, technocrats, the military’s officer cadre and the business community. The other can be called, for lack of a better term, the political class that includes political entrepreneurs of various kinds at various levels, led by the landed and tribal elite. Continue reading

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Filed under Army, civil service, Democracy, Identity, Religion, Society

The national narrative

Salman Tarik Kureshi         Daily Times, June 12, 2010

What happened through the 1950s was the piecemeal articulation of a national narrative for the new state. Jinnah’s liberal, inclusive vision was converted into a faux Islamic exclusivism. Conformity was imposed on political pluralism and a unitary state, belying the Quaid’s crusades for provincial autonomy, was created

Pakistan, we learn, is rated among the five most unstable countries in the Global Peace Index. Scarcely surprising, given the ongoing civil war with half-savage bands of highly organised, well-financed and heavily armed insurgents, and the accompanying terrorist bombings and violent mayhem across the land. This is not to mention the internecine not-so-civil war between major state institutions, the bizarre conspiracy theories aired over the media, the bigotry trumpeted in pulpits across the land and the genocidal sectarian frenzies that are leading us ineluctably to national and civilisational suicide. The most unstable list includes Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan, in addition to our beloved homeland. Continue reading

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Filed under Army, civil service, Colonialism, Constitution, Democracy, History, Judiciary, Media, Pakistan, state

Acting upon the Freedom of Information Act

By Naeem Sadiq

In September 2009 I wrote to two  Sindh  government departments seeking harmless information on matters of education and pollution that should anyway be available to all citizens. I was confident that a formal request under the much trumpeted and much ‘seminar’ed  Freedom of Information Act will do the trick.  The law requires a response within 21 days.   When nothing happened for 4 months, in Jan 2010,  I approached the Sindh Ombudsman (as suggested in the law) to ask the concerned departments to do the needful.

After digesting my request for 3 months, the Sindh Ombudsman finally asked the concerned departments (Education and Environmental Protection Agency) to appear and explain why they did not provide the information that had been asked for.  I too was asked to appear.

So I spent the 1st of April (like a fool)  in the Ombudsman’s office, hoping that the real culprits would make an appearance.  Nobody turned up and the helpless  Ombudsman gave a new date of April 6, for all parties to appear again.

On 6th April I wasted  another day waiting in the Ombudsman’s office, but again neither department put in an appearance.

Clearly I was now being given a taste of my own medicine.  The Ombudsman could keep calling.  I could keep appearing.  The departments violating the freedom of information Act could keep not turning up.  Life could keep going on as normal. Continue reading

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Filed under Citizens, civil service, Conservation, Democracy, Education, Environment, executive, Law, Pakistan, Rights, Sindh

Nahid and the Secretary: Liaison d’Amour

By Pervaiz Munir Alvi

It is London, June 4, 1953. The official delegation of the Dominion of Pakistan, headed by Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Bogra, who also holds the portfolio of Ministry of Defence, is staying at the Claridge’s Hotel. Included in the entourage is the Secretary Ministry of Defence. Only two days earlier the Secretary, as part of the delegation, had attended the pomp and show filled coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II. Today a telegram from the office of Air-Vice Marshal Cannon, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Pakistan Air Force arrives stating that the Secretary has lost his twenty year old son in a tragic plane accident. The Secretary is devastated. Comforting him in this moment of grief are his few close friends and a thirty-nine year old women named Nahid. The Secretary is Colonel Iskander Mirza – future President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Continue reading

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Filed under civil service, Pakistan, Partition, Politics

The 1935 Mindset

By Brigadier Samson Simon Sharaf

Political stability has evaded Pakistan since 1947. Bureaucratic intrigues, repeated military interventions and exclusion of popular governments have fortified the role of elites. They have directly and indirectly toppled governments to ensure that Pakistan’s political clock clocks what they want. These elites have exploited the many gaps in political structure of Pakistan for entrenchment, wherein even apparently popular governments once in opposition adopted a similar approach. According to Rafay Alam: “There has been no revolutionary exertion of rights in this part of the world; it is not difficult to conclude that the Pakistani state did not acquire a fresh personality at its birth and that instead, it inherited the worst possible mindset for running a country.” Similarly, Dr Mubashir Hassan has often made slanted references to this invisible force capable of paralysing political governments. Continue reading

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Filed under Army, Citizens, civil service, Colonialism, Democracy, History, Pakistan

NRO- The monster finally caged!

The monstrous crimes committed, to fabricate illogical laws and illegal ordinances, created by these criminals to protect their own self and others who participated in those practises to ruin Pakistan has now finally taken place with Supreme Court’s verdict on 16th December. The looters, plunderers will have to face the consequences of their actions and face those trials which they avoided through any means available to them- through NRO, through political needs of survival in the name of any reason and methods in the name of Pakistan. Now they will have to stand trial – NRO beneficiaries vs. people of Pakistan. These Machiavellian characters will have to be answerable to the people of Pakistan. The message to all who were benifacries one way or another is that no one is above the law. Those who have committed crimes through corruption and through power abuse will now have to face trials and face consequences of their actions. Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Army, Citizens, civil service, Democracy, Economy, Education, human rights, Islamabad, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Jinnah's Pakistan, journalism, Justice, lawyers movement, Media, movements, Multinational Corporations, Pakistan, Parliament, Politics, poverty, Zardari

Shahbaz Sharif sets a leadership benchmark

<By Raza Rumi

While the pundits have rambled on the venality of the politician and the slothfulness of the bureaucracy, Pakistan’s largest province has witnessed the rise of a unique phenomenon in terms of provincial public management articulated by its second-time Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. In terms of efficacy of the public services and the administration of state machinery, the younger Sharif has set a leadership benchmark that daunts the political class as a whole. What are the points of departure here and how did this formidable image develop in less than a decade?

From 1997-99, arguably not a long stint in office, Shahbaz Sharif demonstrated the maximalist application and range of political will — from policy setting to micro-managerial interventions. It was a style that went down well with the populace, sent shivers down the imaginary backbones of the civil service and took the entrenched mafias and vested interests by huge shock. In the quest for an administrative style that could ‘deliver’, the younger Sharif was undaunted and bold. Exogenous factors admittedly were at play: a powerful government managed by the elder Sharif at the Centre, two thirds majority in the Punjab legislature tremendously helped in this quest for efficient public administration. Continue reading

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Filed under civil service, Democracy, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, Punjabi