â€œI can assure you that there is nothing greater in this world than your own conscience and, when you appear before God, you can say that you performed your duty with the highest sense of integrity, honesty and with loyalty and faithfulness.â€ (Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Broadcast Message February, 1948)
The unfolding of events in recent weeks has not only exposed the vulnerabilities of Pakistan’s administrative system but has also brought to the fore the exigency of political as well as bureaucratic reforms. The much-upbraided bloodbath at the Model Town Lahore, and the prolonged siege of the very area by police, has resulted in many negatives. But, some visible positive developments have also come to the fore. First and foremost among them is the realization by police and other parts of administrative machinery that they are not the stooges to the rulers. Constitution of Pakistan vests in them the powers only to serve the State and the masses, not to blindly obey some bigwigs in political arena.
Bureaucrats ought not to be subservient to the ruling elite rather they have to uphold the constitution and ensure that the principle of equality before law is followed in letter and spirit.
At a time when police were put on high alert and SP CIA, Mr Umar Virk, was ready to ’embrace martyrdom,’ Inspector General of Punjab Police Mr Mushtaq Sukhera grabbed the moment of glory. He showed the mettle and refused to accept government’s under-the-table orders to deal with the people with iron hand. This historic stance was later followed by the IGP Islamabad, Mr Aftab Cheema, who got himself removed from the post but refused to crack down on the marchers and peaceful sit-ins in the Red Zone of the capital. The nation salutes these brave officers for their tremendous courage.
Save some upright officers, Pakistan’s bureaucrats have long been seen as a clan of some yes-men who would do anything to please their political masters only to get some personal benefits. If one Gullu Butt delineates the mindset of the ruling class, his release on the basis of weak investigation unearths the many Gullu Butts with whom our bureaucracy is plagued with. These rogue elements should be weeded out to cleanse our civil service from all ills. This is the only panacea for making our bureaucracy efficient and service-oriented.
Pakistan’s bureaucracy is currently seen as one of the worst in Asia. In a special report, entitled ‘A survey of India and Pakistan, ‘The Economist’ wrote:
â€œPakistan’s bureaucracy, police and public services are so infested with corruption and political favouritism, and so starved of resources, that few Pakistanis expect anything from government except employment, made gainful by bribe-taking.â€
As the famous proverb goes, â€œIt is never too late to mend,â€ we also have this great opportunity to ensure that only constitution, not the whims and wishes of political class, are supreme. Once rule of law is established in truest sense, nothing could ever be able to frustrate our efforts to make Pakistan a developed state. Abounding natural resources, the fifth largest population of young men and women, fertile minds, and what not, Pakistan has all what it takes to be a great nation. If our bureaucrats follow the call of their conscience and do their duties with honesty, our country will soon be among the group of nations called ‘Superpowers’. Nothing would stop us from becoming a major player in world affairs.
More power to our brilliant officers!