Reversing the equation

If Balochistan is lucky, the equation will be reversed or else it is always business as usual!


Jahangir Kakar May 12, 2021
The writer is a civil servant based in Quetta

The governance system in Balochistan is in a self-conflicting zone where it has achieved the evil automation of resisting change. A cliché has, over time, codified itself into a staunch reality that it had always been the civil service that had been the torchbearer of the political junta. Reversing this equation would mean tampering with the thick quantum of time that could show results in forms, shapes and fathoms only to be reckoned with. However, it is the fear of indispensability that has always fueled the keeping together of the status quo and marking time on.

Breaking this time parallax may never topple the providential equation of time and space and this is one of the traits that leaders in history have always shared — nullify indispensability. This equation is in the process of being reversed, at least in case of Balochistan where the elected chief executive has shown the nerves to not only drive but also lead the entire civil service through action, vision and acumen — a combination must for political junta but rare to find.

It is not the scarcity of resources that has caused Balochistan to lag behind sister provinces, but it has been the scarcity of vision that has swallowed it to regression. This emptiness has been more rampant in the political elite than in the civil service. But the later has been the other sad story in this melodramatic plot of regression where taking advantage of the vision wanting in the political elite, they guided the governance structure to facilitate their whims and wishes. The result has been a continuous decline in the quality and responsiveness of the governance structure that finally brought complete alienation between the state and citizenry. The whole governance structure meant to serve the entire people of the province ended up with serving petty personal interest.

This resulted in more chaos where the elected representatives in the province were internalised with the beliefs that it was their system and they were like owners who owned the entire kitty of public money. This precipitated politicisation in governance affairs from appointments to transfers and anyone who did away with the mindset of the elected people was sacked from performing that responsibility. Moreover, the civil service committed a suicide in full contented positions, with the support of their senses and by design decided to go by those lines and neo-servicism.

What was permanently buried deep down were two things: the vision expected of the political junta and the responsiveness of the governance structure to meet that vision. The neo-vision came with neo-servicism and that further pushed back Balochistan in all positive statistics.

How this equation has been shaken at the moment, which is still far off from being completely reversed, has begun showing signs indicative of positive governance. How the civil service should perform with what credibility, measureable performance, cause and effect chain, delivery in concrete terms, making tenures useful, connecting public interests with the mainstream development spending, are few of the many measures that the chief executive of the province has unleashed. This has created fears as well as hope amongst the diversified rank and file of the civil servants as doing the tangible, measurable and sensible has replaced the ages-old sagas of the governors and the governed.

But as said, tampering with the realities of time has its shocks. There are many forces within the status quo — even within the present political elite and the major chunk of the civil service who are at desperate ends to fail this attempt of reversing the providential equation. If Balochistan is lucky, the equation will be reversed or else it is always business as usual!

Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2021.

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