Civil service in Pakistan, especially over the past two decades, has been trying to develop, and adapt itself to the changing circumstances so as to live up to the expectations of the common man. Changes have taken place in the form of introduction of information technology, establishment and development of specialized bodies to deal with new and dynamic issues relating particularly to service delivery and development structure. Common man is still facing a lot of problems and he has to come across with traditional lethargy on the part of civil administration in redressal of his complaint.
The best available individuals inducted into the civil service are reflective of the prevailing trends and attitudes in society. Before joining the civil service, these individuals are familiar, to some extent though, with the problems faced by the common people.
In Pakistan, the process of familiarizing a newly-recruited civil servant with the structure of the government and society, as well as governance and working of institutions starts from the Civil Services Academy (CSA) which is also struggling to include in its curricula the changes befitting to the requirements of training civil officers on the pattern of trends prevailing in, and keeping in view the requirements of, the modern-day world.
One aspect of imparting training to the officers is to inculcate in them the qualities that are expected from a civil servant. This begins in the form of strict discipline but in a congenial environment with freedom of expression at every stage of training. The training must be distinguished from education. The scope of training is narrower and more specific than that of education; although both are closely related. In public administration, its aim is to impart practical knowledge to the incumbents and infuse in them a realization of their duties and responsibilities. It also aims at developing skills, habits, knowledge and attitudes so as to prepare them for increasing effectiveness and preparing them for future positions, assignments and enabling them to face all the challenges in the way.
Efficiency is the first and foremost prerequisite to be able to perform effectively. And, it means that individually one is to be efficient and able to mobilize one’s team and get the tasks done within a reasonable time. It further enhances the efficiency of the organization as a whole. This chance is amply given to the trainees by making them perform as a leader as well as a team member, and contribute as a whole towards the completion of tasks. In other words, one has to lead by example to inspire the members of one’s team and those who are working under the guidance of a wise leadership.
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The work should be free of mistakes and accurate and it should be done within the given time frame. Similarly, resources should not be wasted away and, at the same time, the quality of decisions should not be sacrificed for the sake of saving time. Being efficient is to think in an innovative way and work for the simplification of the processes, saving resources and time. This means that a civil servant is expected to be efficient; disposing of official work with speed and quality.
A civil servant is not expected to please his political masters; he is to perform his duty in a completely neutral way by giving opinion keeping in view all pros and cons involved in a decision, and then leave the rest to the political leadership. Even to one’s seniors, one is expected to give one’s views in a candid manner, without compromising one’s neutrality. One should not be afraid of being overruled but, at the same time, one should also not surrender one’s basic right to advise.
A civil servant should lead by example so as to inspire others. His integrity should be known to others, e.g. he has a high sense of justice, objectivity and intellectual honesty. One should not be attracted by petty benefits so as to compromise one’s integrity. Subordinates are supposed to follow their seniors; which means seniors are responsible for the conduct of their subordinates. Self-accountability will serve as an eye-opener for others and what you expect from your subordinates, you should demonstrated it in your decision-making and dealing with public at large.
A civil servant should not all the time be like running after lucrative postings; he should know that all the posts are cadre and all the possible posts have been included in it. So no matter against which post one is posted, one has the opportunity to serve with one’s maximum ability. All the posts are equally important and trying to secure a particular post is against the basic concept of civil service. Unfortunately, a section of civil servants identifies itself with political leadership though the difference is very fine. However, one should remain loyal to the country’s constitution and the rule of law, and to implementing the directives and policies of the government. The civil service must remain an apolitical body.
We have to prepare our civil service for the challenges ahead. For this, we should be thoroughly professional in our job and must maintain high standards of integrity and efficiency. Efforts to equip ourselves with knowledge and skills should continue.
Quaid’s Advice to Civil Servants
1. Whatever community, caste or creed you belong to you are now the servants of Pakistan.
2. You have to do your duty as servants; you are not concerned with this political or that political party; that is not your business. It is a business of politicians to fight out their case under the present constitution or the future constitution that may be ultimately framed.
3. Whichever gets the majority will form the Government and your duty is to serve that Government for the time being as servants not as politicians. How will you do that? The Government in power for the time being must also realize and understand their responsibilities that you are not to be used for this party or that.
4. Make the people feel that you are their servants and friends, maintain the highest standard of honour, integrity, justice and fair-play. If you do that, people will have confidence and trust in you and will look upon you as friends and well wishers.
5. You should not be influenced by any political pressure, by any political party or individual politician. If you want to raise the prestige and greatness of Pakistan, you must not fall a victim to any pressure, but do your duty as servants to the people and the State, fearlessly and honestly.
6. Service is the backbone of the State. Government are formed, Governments are defeated Prime Ministers come and go, Ministers come and go but you stay on, and therefore, there is a very great responsibility placed on your shoulders.
7. May be some of you may fall victims for not satisfying the whims of the Ministers. I hope it does not happen, but you may even be put to trouble not because you are doing anything wrong but because you are doing right.
8. It is you who can give us the opportunity to create a powerful machinery which will give you a complete sense of security.
(Excerpts from speeches Quaid-i-Azam made in Chittagong (25th March, 1948) and Peshawar (April 1948).