14th Position CSS 2013 | JWT provides a shortcut to prepare better and that too in a lesser time through the quality stuff. Before actually taking the CSS exam, I combed through previous issues of JWT.
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, for the interest of JWT readers and CSS, PMS aspirants, please tell us about your academic background.
Mohammad Musa Ali Bokhari (MMAB): I got schooled at the Aitchison College, Lahore where I had a wonderful experience in activities, ranging from curricular to co- and extracurricular ones including swimming, horse riding, athletics, etc. Being an Aitchisonian is the force behind what I am today, and I have the fondest of memories regarding this most prestigious institution of the country. Through your esteemed publication, Jahangir’s World Times, I take this opportunity to pay tribute and homage to Aitchison College and its principal, Sir Shamim Saifullah Khan, as he always strives to instil in students the cherished qualities of discipline, hard work, integrity and reverence for moral values.
After completing my O Levels, I did intermediate from Government College University (GCU), Lahore. Later, I go admitted to the five-year programme of B.A LL.B (Hons) offered by the Punjab University Law College. My experience as chief editor of the student magazine and as Secretary Law Moot Society at the university helped me a lot in widening my thought horizons.
JWT: Was joining the Civil Services always the top priority for your future career plans?
MMAB: Actually, I belong to a family of officers. My great-grandfather and grandfather were well-known police officers. My father had served as a Judge. I always felt a great charm in police uniform, and I would often wear my grandfather’s police cap. So yes, you can say, joining the Civil Services has always been my top priority as I wanted to become an officer just like my elders. I am proud that I have carried on the legacy of my family.
JWT: Why PAS was your first choice?
MMAB: Yes, it was. Because, I feel all occupational groups in Central Superior Services are unique in some way or the other. Nevertheless, Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) offers a broad spectrum for serving the masses as PAS officers get the opportunities to serve in various departments at national level including health, education, law and order, industry, economy, etc. The PAS officers reach the highest posts of Pakistan’s federal bureaucracy and they have the power and influence to leave a positive impact on and contribution to the welfare of general public.
JWT: What would you advise the readers and CSS aspirants because your thoughts would surely inspire them to go for the CSS? And, how Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) can be a source of fruitful guidance for them?
MMAB: It is said that to enjoy the rainbow, one must endure the storm and this should suffice as my advice to aspirants. I would say that CSS requires patience, perseverance and motivation. This makes CSS exam a severe game of nerves.
As far as JWT is concerned, I must say that it provides a shortcut to prepare better and that too in a lesser time through the quality stuff penned by eminent writers like former Foreign Secretary Mr Shamshad Ahmed. Before actually taking the CSS exam, I combed through previous issues of JWT.
JWT: Do you think seeking guidance from an academy or a mentor is inevitable to get through CSS?
MMAB: I believe proper guidance is absolutely necessary for new aspirants to be on the right track. I am fortunate to have my mentor at home in form of my father, Dr Syed Ali Sana Bokhari. He had the honour to top his batch of PCS judiciary exam. So, I mean guidance is necessary; academy or individual mentor, choice is yours.
JWT: To whom would you credit with your success?
MMAB: I thank Allah for being so generous and very kind to me. After Allah Almighty, I am extremely grateful to my parents as well as my siblings. The prayers of my mother and her support lifted me to this position.
MMAB: I think when you make things easy for the examiner, you are actually making things fruitful for yourself. Make the presentation of your answer prim and proper. Do give headings, use highlighters and write to the point. Just avoid beating about the bush. And, most importantly, do comprehend the questions before answering it. Detailed analyses and neatly-drawn diagrams do pay off.
As regards strategy for essay paper, frankly speaking, I strongly believed that Essay is one question and it has only one correct answer. So, I consistently practiced essay writing while preparing for the exam. I think it’s a drill which has to be done regularly. Flaunting vocabulary is not needed at all.
JWT: What could be the best way to select optional subjects? What was the main feature of your strategy for International Law as your score in it was simply excellent?
MMAB: I think CE-2013 was a shut-up call to all those who indulge in the rhetoric of scoring and non-scoring subjects. It also debunked the myth that cramming can be the key to success. I would advise all the aspirants to choose subjects that are of interest to them. A choice of overlapping subjects e.g. Indo-Pak History and Pakistan Affairs, would help a great deal. Now, coming to my score in International Law, I would say that I was my most favourite subject and studying it was no ordeal for me.
JWT: You managed to score well in Current Affairs but not in Muslim Law. What were the reasons for this?
MMAB: As far as Current Affairs is concerned, a great deal of reading went into it. I studied the important topics of the time at great length. Correct expression and deep critical analyses also helped me fetch good marks.
For Muslim Law, neither I ignored the subject nor was I ill prepared. But, I could not get the scores I had expected.
JWT: How would you describe the Psychological Assessment and Viva Voce phase of the CSS?
MMAB: I must admit that I was a bit nervous while entering the room but I got settled within no time. The panellists also put me at ease â€” of course they grilled me but I confidently answered their questions. I believe my answers were original, rational and impressive. If I didn’t know the answer to a question, I simply excused by saying sorry. I believe I managed it quite well and during the conclusive minutes, I almost began to enjoy it.