JWT was immensely helpful for me as it provided me access to relevant topics with up-to-date information on them.
Jahangir’s World Times (JWT): First of all, please tell us about your educational background?
Hafiz Karim Dad Chughtai (HKDC): I belong to a Chughtai family of Rahim Yar Khan. First of all, I became a Hafiz-e-Quran at the age of seven. Then I studied Persian and Arabic at a local seminary and developed a keen interest in traditional Islamic history and modern Middle Eastern affairs. Then, I passed matriculation from Government Higher Secondary School Kot Samaba in 2004. Then, I joined Government College University (GCU), Lahore from where I did FSc pre-engineering and later BS (Hons) in Economics in 2006-10 session.
JWT: As everyone starts dreaming of a future career in childhood, so what were your dreams? Did you always aspire to be a CSP officer?
HKDC: Frankly speaking, I got to know about Civil Services and CSS exam when I was doing FSc at the GCU and I instantaneously made up my mind to go for CSS.
JWT: What made you abandon the engineering field and go for BS (Hons.)?
HKDC: Actually, it was my aspiration for CSS that didn’t let me go toward engineering and spurred me to do BS Honors in Social Sciences where Economics, Political Science and History were my main subjects. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to interact with many CSS toppers and position-holders like Rizwan Omer Gondal(1st in CSS-2007), Muhammad Bin Ashraf (1st in CSS-2009), Rana Abdul Aziz (1st in CSS-2010) and Imran Hussain Ranjha (10th in CSS-2011). They always guided and helped me in my preparation for CSS and it proved instrumental in my success.
JWT: How much helpful did you find Jahangir’s World Times (JWT) during your preparation?
HKDC: I found JWT a really good source of quality and updated knowledge. It provides the aspirants with invaluable guidance. I have been an avid reader of JWT especially its Source of Inspiration section that contains the interviews of successful candidates. These interviews help the aspirants in channelling their efforts in the right direction.
JWT: As you have got first position in written part, so what, in your opinion, is the key to making a difference in this part of CSS exam?
HKDC: It, indeed, is a critical issue and needs a comprehensive separate talk, nevertheless, speaking briefly, I would say that reproduction of quality material with immaculate expression, attractive presentation and clarity of thoughts can make a real difference. Moreover, detailed outlines, well-thought-out introduction and conclusion with a critical assessment in each question can help the candidates in securing excellent marks. I adopted the same strategy and it really paid off in form of my first position in written part.
JWT: Generally, Pakistan Affairs is considered a low-scoring subject but you have secured excellent marks in it. What technique and strategy did you follow for this very paper?
HKDC: No doubt, getting a staggering 76 marks in Pakistan Affairs is not easy because the subject offers only a little scope for high score. However, I believe that candidates can get very good marks in this paper by writing the most relevant material which should amply fulfil the requirements of the questions. Moreover, appropriate presentation, references of quality books and articles and providing critical assessment at the end of every question are key to getting a high score.
JWT: How do you see the revision of syllabus for CSS exam 2016 and onwards?
HKDC: First of all, I would say that the Federal Public Service Commission should have incorporated the recommendations made by Dr Ishrat Husain, Former Governor State Bank, as he was the Chairman of National Commission for Governance Reforms. Actually, Dr Husain had recommended the induction of professionals in country’s civil bureaucracy and overhauling of the whole system of civil service. In my opinion, the revised syllabus for CSS is a change in form, not in content, and I think it won’t bring any significant change in the structure and effectiveness as well as performance of bureaucracy.
JWT: What were the toughest and the easiest parts in the whole process of CSS exam?
HKDC: The toughest part was the written part especially English Essay paper; the rest of the process was quite easier.
JWT: You also got impressive marks in interview. How it fared well for you?
HKDC: My interview was in the last phase of CSS-2014. I was anxiously waiting for my turn for interview and it went quite well. First of all, Mr Chairman asked me about my group preferences and then put some questions on issues like Yemen Crisis, US-Iran Nuclear Deal etc. Then, after chairman, Ms Batool asked me some questions related to gender development and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, Mr Wajid Rana asked more than twenty questions related to Philosophy, Economics, Political Science, favourite books and I answered well all the questions except two. Mr Lehri put questions about the Constitution of Pakistan and Yemen Crisis. Then, in concluding part of the interview, Mr Chairman enquired about books I have written on Arabic literature. So, this was my interview and it fared well as is depicted by my score in it.
JWT: Who deserves the credit for your success?
HKDC: Blessings of Allah Almighty, prayers of my family and friends and expert guidance by my seniors all played a vital role in my success. In this respect, I would like to mention the names of Shahram Sarwar, Hamoodur Rehman Ranjha, Saad Hassan Gurchani, Imran Hussain Ranjha and Awais Ayub; they stood by me during my whole CSS journey. My colleagues and friends have always encouraged me when I could not get through my attempt in CSS-2012. I scored 773 marks in CSS 2012, but failed the Essay paper by only 6 marks. However, by the grace of Almighty Allah, this time I got an excellent score of 788 in written part.