The value of JWT can be assessed from the fact that the FPSC has recommended JWT for CSS
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, for the interest of JWT readers and aspirants for competitive exams, please tell us about your educational background?
Muhammad Atif (MA): I actually belong to a village of Sheikhupura district. I got primary and secondary education from my native village. Then for higher secondary education, I went to Govt. College Sheikhupura. After that I did my graduation and post graduation as a student of Soil & Environmental Sciences from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. At the university, I won both merit- and need-based scholarships to meet my educational expenditures.
JWT: What were your career ambitions during your college and university days? Did you always dream of becoming a government officer?
MA: Interestingly, I was the Louis Pasteur of my time as I intensely disliked mathematics. I was naturally inclined towards biological studies. I wanted to serve humanity through research work. It was only after graduation that I developed a strong liking for becoming a bureaucrat. Along with scientific studies, I chose the path of competitive exams and the struggle continues even today.
JWT: How your qualifications can help you in performing your duties?
MA: Actually, I have studied a number of courses related to agriculture, forestry and environmental science. Apart from administering these sectors, if offered, I can introduce novel reforms as well. So, I can serve the prestigious Provincial Management Service as a bureaucrat as well as a technocrat simultaneously.
JWT: Your phenomenal success makes you a real source of inspiration for thousands of prospective aspirants. What would you advise them to do for achieving their dreams? And, how, in your opinion, Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) would serve as a source of guidance to them?
MA: My advice to all the aspirants for competitive exams, especially PMS, is that ‘never ever give up’. PMS is more a game of nerves than knowledge.
As far as JWT is concerned, it is really helpful to keep abreast of domestic as well as global affairs. It is equally helpful in preparing for PMS and CSS exams. The value of JWT can be assessed from the fact that the FPSC has recommended JWT for CSS which it further validates its utility.
JWT: To whom or what would you credit with your success?
MA: Regarding my success, the whole credit goes to my honourable teachers, Mr Muhammad Asif and Mr Bilal Bin Abdul Hafeez. I am also grateful to my senior PMS Officer, Mr Khurram Shahzad Bhatti, for aptly guiding me on PMS. They are really men of success and men of value. They awakened the Jinnah in me. And, of course, the prayers of my beloved parents and sincere friends helped me a lot in achieving this distinction.
JWT: How one can make a difference in written part of PMS exam?
MA: They say a good reader is a good writer. So, to make a difference in written part of the PMS, and even CSS, exam, one must study the books recommended by the respective Public Service Commission. Preparation from substandard material can damage written score. The aspirants must make their own short notes after studying the recommended books. Apart from this, one must take coaching from well-qualified tutors.
JWT: To which extent PMS is different from and difficult than CSS?
MA: There is no big difference between PMS and CSS. However, there are a few differences regarding the syllabi and groups of both the exams. It’s a myth that PMS is easier than CSS. In reality, PMS is equally challenging as CSS. The General Knowledge paper in PMS is much tougher than those in CSS.
JWT: Was it your first attempt? And were you expecting such a splendid result?
MA: Yes, it was my first attempt. Frankly, I wasn’t sure about my exact position; however, I was certain that I will win allocation.
JWT: How one can adopt a balanced approach while preparing for compulsory as well as optional subjects of the PMS exam?
MA: In competitive exams, every subject, whether compulsory or optional, is equally important. So, one must give equal importance to every subject because a low score in one subject can mar your prospects of getting a higher position. However, English must be taken as a language and not as a mere compulsory subject. Besides this, one must be very cautious about time management.
MA: The most interesting thing in PMS exam is that one can easily judge one’s general mental abilities. No matter what educational background a PMS aspirant has, this exam equally induces the sense of competition in both the science and the arts students.
JWT: How has been your experience of interview with the panel?
MA: To me, interview was an excellent experience. I was much excited to appear before the panel. Although, it was my first ever interview at any forum, I tried to prove myself as if I have nerves of steel. After I presented my brief introduction, the 3-member panel asked both opinion-based and token questions.
When I told the panel that I drive my inspiration from the teachings and works of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal, a member said that he had some reservations. Then I respectfully expounded my thoughts before the panellists with full confidence. And, I think they were completely satisfied with my answer. They also asked some questions regarding the issues like coeducation, water scarcity, etc. Some questions were about the reasons behind my decision to go for PMS and other related matters. Overall, the whole experience has been rewarding, as I topped the interview.