Shahla Qureshi PSP, 39th Common
Jahangir’s World Times: Please tell us about yourself, educational background and achievements in detail.
I belong to Karachi; I passed my matriculation from Govt. Girl’s Secondary School, SITE, Karachi then FSc (pre-medical) from Khatoon-e-Pakistan Govt. Degree College Karachi. After that I joined University of Karachi for BSc (Hon) and MSc in Zoology with specialization in ‘Entomology’ and got first position. I emerged as ‘Gold Medalist’ in International Congress of Zoology, 2008. Apart from this, I qualified exam of lecturership from Sindh Public Service Commission (SPSC) with a distinction. Moreover, I also topped the Combined Competitive Exam of PCS-2008 for the post of Assistant Commissioner and got 2nd position in Sindh. I had served as lecturer BPS-17 at D.J Science College Karachi. I have always been consistent, hardworking, brave and dedicated to my work.
JWT: What type of guidance one should seek?
Before saying anything about guidance, I will prefer to say that one should be focused on the target because in my opinion only target-oriented people can do marvelous things. However, guidance plays pivotal role in success as far as CSS exam is concerned. One should meet seniors who have qualified the exam and try to consult subject specialists. Furthermore, there should be a motivational force behind you, which will penetrate enthusiasm in your personality in order to achieve your goal.
JWT: Did you prefer books or notes; what should be prepared and how?
I prefer books and notes as well as helpful material related to the exam. In fact, books really energize our mind and then we extract notes from books, so in my opinion both are important.
JWT: What are the prerequisites for the CSS examination?
SQ: Well, one must have a far-sighted approach with a broader vision. Therefore, I never suggest that after just completion of graduation one should go for CSS; instead, one must get a post graduation degree though only graduation is prerequisite for CSS. In my opinion fresh graduates without having any work experience are not suitable to run the machinery of government. Moreover, a new aspirant of CSS should visit or get through the basic material related to CSS exam. For instance, one should browse the official website of FPSC, CSS Forum as well as Jahangir’s World Times; in addition to that one should meet anyone who has already qualified the exam. Therefore, I think these things can be helpful for a beginner.
JWT: What are the steps for the preparation; especially, for the English essay and composition paper?
First of all I like ‘English language’; secondly, I have done a diploma in English language. That is why the paper of English composition was not an uphill task for me. I would say in composition paper, one should focus on three major questions Short Essay, Comprehension and precis writing because they carry 65 marks and rest of the questions carry just 35 marks. So, instead of wasting time on idioms, direct-indirect narration etc one should focus on these three questions. Now as far as Essay-writing is concerned, it requires thorough understanding of the topic and one must know how to build a thesis statement of the topic. In addition, argumentative and critical approach of analysis along with appropriate fact & figures is also required for a good essay. Write, write and write as much as you can because in my opinion extensive practice of writing is the best technique for both the papers.
JWT: What sort of combination candidates should opt for the optional subjects?
No doubt, selection of optional subjects plays an impotant role in the ultimate success and I believe that one should choose optional subjects according to his or her own interest and academic background. As I have command on natural sciences, I opted Zoology, Agriculture, History of Indo-Pak and International Relations. Remember no subject is scoring or of low rating but the difference comes by the consumption of time for a particular subject as well as the art of attempting the questions.
JWT: What are the ways to get higher marks in written exams and the interview?
To the point writing is the only way to get higher marks because unnecessary details can irritate the examiner. Here, I would like to mention that majority of the candidates failed in the compulsory paper of Islamiat in the CSS exam 2010. The reason of this failure in my opinion was lack of analytical approach. Actually, the pattern of the paper has been changed. Now candidates are not only required to quote Quranic versus and Hadith but also the current knowledge a particular topic to support the answer. In my view, the candidates did not focus on these aspects. As far as interview is concerned, I would say confidence level of the candidate, argumentative approach along with facts and figures, and fluency of language (English) matter a lot.
JWT: How much time is required for CSS preparation?
I will not say that 5 or 8 hours daily are required for CSS; one can find time for study while travelling as well. I used to do the same. Actually, the main thing is your determination, if it is strong, you can achieve your goal as I did and I know it would be surprising for everyone; 2-hours-study everyday for a month is enough. Moreover, I love general knowledge, and I cannot forget the role of JWT in my success as far as CSS exam is concerned. In fact, consistency and hard work and smart techniques are the keys to success. The number of months and daily hours do not really matter’ at least not to me.
JWT: Why Karachities are reluctant towards CSS?
There are numbers of reasons: first of all, life is very fast in Karachi, and CSS is a time-consuming process of almost two years, so young people prefer to do some business or get a job in the private sector. In fact, they get job easily in the private enterprises because of the dominance of corporate sector in Karachi. Secondly, lack of awareness about the civil services and CSS among the educated youth of Karachi is the biggest cause of their deficient interest in CSS.
JWT: Do you believe in ‘Luck Factor’ as far as CSS exam is concerned?
Yes, I am the strong believer of ‘luck’ because it has been with me most of the time, and especially in the CSS exam. I got my favourite occupational group with nominal marks, so, it proves that luck is supporting me. Apart from luck, I would say prayers of my parents and teachers made me successful.
JWT: Why you opted for Police as your top choice?
Well, my personality is adventurous and I prefer to face hardships and challenges in life that is why I opted for Police. Moreover, Pakistan is facing challenge of Law & Order and I think Police are the most appropriate department to deal with the challenge and to serve the people at grass-roots level. Furthermore, I want to deal with the problems and injustices prevalent in society, and want to do something for the women in particular. Now as far as suitability of a female for Police is concerned, I would say if a woman can become a fighter pilot, why not a police officer. I am courageous, motivated and dynamic with strong nerves, that is why, I consider myself suitable for police service. I also encourage upcoming female candidates to join it.
Male and female can equally participate in running the state apparatus, because for the progress of our country, economic empowerment of women is inevitable. Thus women should not underestimate themselves, instead, they should come forward and participate in all the fields.