Civil servants with a conscience
The role of the civil servants of Pakistan has been time and again controversial in Pakistan.
Civil servants are considered to be the engine of any state machinery and their performance has a direct link with the building of a nation. It has been observed that the vested interests of the top hierarchy itself are a key hurdle in many cases to ensure good governance by victimising efficient, committed and honest public servants in one way or the other.
The role of the civil servants of Pakistan has been time and again controversial in Pakistan, more or less due to being misused by the ruling elites. Victimisation of bureaucrats has been on the rise, and it happens whenever their professional work clashes with the interest of the ruling elite. The cases of former FIA director Hussain Asghar, former establishment secretary Sohail Ahmed, former FIA DG Tariq Khosa, former FIA director Zafar Qureshi and many more are examples in this regard.
All these officials have been victimised and officially punished in their careers, when they tried to follow the law in letter and spirit and made efforts to bring some kind of reform in their own domain. Such efficient and committed bureaucrats were never given time to perform as per the rules and regulations and to the best of their abilities because they never toe the line of the rulers.
The civil servants often discuss that they want to bring positive changes in the system and implement the rules effectively, but pressure from the regime that they serve at any point in time creates hurdles in their way and sometimes they have to compromise for the sake of their careers. There are lots of things which need to be done for improving governance, but their hands are virtually tied, they say.
One officer with a low voice stated that ‘naukri’ is his weakness and that he cannot do anything against the wishes of his minister. Another civil servant said during his 15-year-long career, he was never allowed to work more than six months at any post because he wouldn’t do as his superiors would demand of him. Hussain Asghar, a reputed police officer was posted to Gilgit-Baltistan as punishment when he was rigorously pursuing the investigation of the Hajj scam and his transfer order was never withdrawn despite repeated directives of the apex court.
One can only hope that governments realise that by letting bureaucrats work according to their conscience, everyone’s interest will be served.