We are living in the twenty first century with latest technology gadgets but still we’ve the bureaucratic system that was given by the British. It is very difficult to be a part of the twenty first century economy with a nineteenth century bureaucracy and with eighteenth century rules. This is what our bureaucratic system is.
The legislature, the judiciary and the executives are the key players of any government. The legislature constructs the laws, judiciary interprets laws and executives implement those laws. The executives are the bureaucrats who exercise their authority to work for public related issues by applying laws. Civil servants play a pivotal role, shaping and transmitting a national vision and development agencies in public policy formulation and implementation.
With an emphasis on good governance in Pakistan; attention has focused on the quality of public administration, a linchpin in any country’s development when it comes to policy analysis, formulation and delivery of development programmes. A vivacious, spirited and vigorous civil service is the means for progress, good governance and national development. The civil services are guided and controlled by secrecy, anonymity, neutrality, objectivity, fairness and impartiality.
Policy formulation at state level isn’t an easy job. The executives play the key role to constitute the policies as our legislatures are less educated and have no vision. But the dilemma with Pakistan is that its civil servants have also no interest in the betterment of the system.
They know that if the status quo is ended then their authority will also be challenged and their ways of bribes will be reduced. Pakistan has been unlucky since its inception, because it did not get a true, optimistic, patriotic, and devoted leader. In Pakistan, if you want to get a legal job done, you need to pay a bribe otherwise it will be prolonged. This is red tape which promotes corruption and bribery. So how is it possible that these so called civil servants play a positive role for pro-public policies?
Civil servants are considered to be the most prestigious, powerful and extraordinary people. Civil servants are easily contemptuous of legal chains when they know that they lack sufficient consequences for their misusing power. It can be called human nature and civil servants are the humans.
The executives are in a position of power and authority. They are the first face representatives of the government. They tilt towards the political elite and they work for vested interests. They abuse their power to grab financial as well as political benefits. Nepotism, favoritism, biases, and discrimination are prevalent in the bureaucracy in Pakistan.
Bureaucrats are in a position to intimidate, threaten, coerce, intentionally withhold information, violate fairness and good faith, and, sometimes, they have an unrevealed conflict of interest. This is again the representation of abusing the authority.
Common citizens are not educated and aware of laws. Civil servants take advantage of the unawareness of the public. The abuse of authority includes the deliberate use of power for some particular aim which cannot be justified legitimately and even logically.
A big set back is that the bureaucracy has to obey politicians for promotions and other fringe benefits. Thus, there is a dire need to depoliticise the bureaucracy
Bureaucracies can play a key role in progress and national development if they are non-politicised, transparent, and accountable. Military and authoritarian rule in Pakistan has influenced negatively the political culture which leads to chaos and unrest in the country. There is a dire need to change and reform the civil services to create democratic values which have become imperative for Pakistan. Effective and efficient bureaucracy will act as a vehicle for the betterment of Pakistan.
In Pakistan, years of military and authoritarian rule has cultivated a depressing and pessimist political culture on the ideology and philosophy of the civil service, despite all, its role and responsibility in national progress and development cannot be undervalued. It has become imperative to bring revolutionary reforms in civil and public service in accordance with democratic values. Efficient and effective civil service will be a catalyst for development in Pakistan. On contrast, its inefficiency and ineffectiveness can compose and compile as one of the heaviest stones round the neck of Pakistan.
Consequently, the civil services of Pakistan remain very influential, decisive, vital and critical to progress, advancement, national development and democratic solidarity and stability.
Due to the failure of civil services, Pakistan is facing many challenges at local, national and even at the international level. There is a myth that corruption and bribery are associated with the civil services in Pakistan. Politicisation of the top civil services causes high political destabilisation. A big setback is that the bureaucracy has to obey politicians for promotions and other fringe benefits. Thus, there is a dire need to depoliticise the bureaucracy.
Creativity is one thing which is always important but vision is another that is always mandatory. The fickle and capricious minded political elite who change their opinions faster than they change their clothes, have vested political and financial interests and they neglect the meritocracy at large. They make the lives of government officials miserable and despondent. It has become mandatory to empathise and console with those who undergo or suffer the stigma and contamination of vigilance and alertness strictures and sometimes dismissal from their services.
In the current era, accelerated change has been brought about by the use of technological advancements, greater decentralisation and socio-political activism. The ramifications and consequences of these changes and modifications must be felt by the government to increase and enhance the expectations and potential for improved governance through efficient and effective service delivery, honesty, transparent, accountability, responsibility, and the rule of law. The bureaucracy or the civil service is the primary and it must keep pace with the changing time in order to meet the needs of the hour and the aspirations of the public. The rationale of bringing reforms to reorient the bureaucracy into dynamic, energetic, vibrant, efficient and accountable apparatus for the public service deliverance establish on ethos, and values of integrity, veracity, truthfulness, impartiality and neutrality. It is mandatory for sustainable development and the proper function of the state.
Professionalism is the key to success for the civil services. There is a dire need to develop professional skills and knowledge in bureaucrats. They normally depend on their subordinates who use malpractices, and ultimately they become a part of the corruption just because of the lack of professionalism.
The system has been paralysed with a number of precedents. The wheels hobble at a slow melancholy pace. Honest, dedicated, and competent civil servants must concentrate on human capital reforms to create a high performing state. The system or the bureaucracy that devastates its valuable human potential is morally, ethically and decently indefensible. The bureaucracy must facilitate the decision making in the right direction for the betterment of the state. It must be non-politicised and result oriented. There must a revolutionary change in the civil services otherwise there is no hope of change.
The writer is a PhD Scholar, Media and Crime and author of different books on International Relations, Criminology and Gender Studies. He can be reached at email@example.com
Published in Daily Times, November 25th 2018.