The Rise and Fall of the Civil Ser­vice of Pak­istan

Southasia - - Contents - S. G. Ji­la­nee is a se­nior po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst and the for­mer edi­tor of Southasia Mag­a­zine.

There was a time when the Civil Ser­vice was the most cov­eted and most en­vied in In­dia and Pak­istan. Its glamor made it the ul­ti­mate as­pi­ra­tion of all ed­u­cated young men. When the East In­dia Com­pany had dug its feet in In­dia and turned from just traders to rulers, they needed peo­ple to look af­ter the law and or­der, set­tle land is­sues and col­lect rev­enue. Thus was born the covenanted Civil Ser­vice (CSS).

Af­ter In­dia came un­der the di­rect con­trol of the Crown, the Bri­tish govern­ment cre­ated a class of peo­ple who acted as “in­ter­preters” be­tween the Bri­tish rulers and the mil­lions they gov­erned. This was the In­dian Civil Ser­vice, (ICS), con­trolled di­rectly by the Sec­re­tary of State for In­dia at White­hall. Their duty was to as­sist in the per­pet­u­a­tion of the Raj. The com­mon per­cep­tion that the ICS was com­pletely apo­lit­i­cal and only the CSP “played pol­i­tics” is, there­fore, not cor­rect,

The pro­ce­dure for re­cruit­ment and terms of ser­vice were clearly laid down. The of­fi­cers were given their man­date and full au­thor­ity to ful­fill it. With job se­cu­rity guar­an­teed, they went about their task with mis­sion­ary zeal and de­liv­ered.

Grad­u­ally, with the in­tro­duc­tion of re­forms to­wards self-govern­ment and in­duc­tion of In­di­ans in the ICS, po­lit­i­cal in­cli­na­tion among In­dian ICS of­fi­cers be­came more pro­nounced. None­the­less, while some Hindu ICS of­fi­cers openly as­so­ci­ated with Congress lead­ers, Mus­lim of­fi­cers kept aloof from the Mus­lim League. Dis­trict of­fi­cers were the masters of all they sur­veyed. But they were also the mai

baap of the peo­ple un­der their charge and as such they du­ti­fully looked af­ter their well­be­ing. They also demon­strated the high­est pro­bity, so as to serve as mod­els for the mem­bers of the Sub­or­di­nate Civil Ser­vice un­der them. For ex­am­ple, S. B. Hatch-Barnwell, ICS, Mem­ber, Board of Rev­enue in East Pak­istan, came to the sec­re­tariat rid­ing a bi­cy­cle till the very last day of his ser­vice.

With the cre­ation of Pak­istan, not only the nomen­cla­ture was changed first from ICS to Pak­istan Ad­min­is­tra­tive Ser­vice ( PAS) fol­low­ing In­dia’s ex­am­ple, and fi­nally to Civil Ser­vice of Pak­istan (CSP), but the Ser­vice also un­der­went a sea change. Some rules had to be dis­carded due to gen­uine com­pul­sions. For ex­am­ple, in the old days, ICS of­fi­cers were al­lo­cated per­ma­nently to prov­inces other than their home prov­ince, which then be­came their home. But no East Pak­istani of­fi­cer could ac­cept a per­ma­nent post­ing to any prov­ince in West Pak­istan.

At a very early stage the CSP de­vel­oped con­tempt for politi­cians for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons. It also dis­cov­ered that al­liance with the army was ben­e­fi­cial to their in­ter­ests. By 1967, there­fore, when the author joined the ser­vice, “Ayub’s for­tunes were on the wane; not so the CSP.”

The CSP had reached the peak of its power. But power on an un­prece­dented scale in the newly in­de­pen­dent coun­try also led to cor­rup­tion as its log­i­cal con­comi­tant. The hal­lowed tra­di­tions of the ICS that had lent it its aura were for­got­ten. The evil was not limited to graft. It in­cluded even moral de­prav­ity and metas­ta­sized all over the sys­tem. One ICS of­fi­cer se­duced the wife of East Pak­istan gover­nor’s mil­i­tary sec­re­tary, Col. Keightly and lived with her openly in the Dhaka Club. A CSP se­duced the wife of a lo­cal doc­tor when he was dis­trict mag­is­trate in Jes­sore (East Pak­istan).

Neme­sis was there­fore fore­told. Through re­peated purges and the in­duc­tion of swarms of army of­fi­cers, the CSP was bat­tered out of shape. “In 1973 Z.A. Bhutto de­stroyed and buried the Civil Ser­vice of Pak­istan. In 2001 Lt. Gen. Tan­vir Hus­sain Naqvi de­stroyed what­ever lit­tle abil­ity it had to de­liver.” (p. 138) Re­ward­ing loy­al­ists and pun­ish­ing con­sci­en­tious of­fi­cers by elected rulers had be­come

rou­tine quite early. To­day, a ju­nior grade 21 of­fi­cer is ap­pointed chief sec­re­tary, su­per­sed­ing “twenty-nine grade 22 and ninety-three grade 21 DMG col­leagues.” (p. 336)

All this and much more has been chron­i­cled by Amin­ul­lah Chaudry, a re­tired CSP of the 1967 batch in his sem­i­nal book, Po­lit­i­cal Ad­min­is­tra­tors. His tragic ex­pe­ri­ence as an un­wit­ting ca­su­alty in the cross-fire be­tween the prime min­is­ter and the army chief in 1999 is an eye-opener. On the one side was Nawaz Sharif or­der­ing him to pre­vent the PIA flight from Colombo with Pervez Mushar­raf on board, from land­ing any­where in Pak­istan; on the other was the mil­i­tary, de­mand­ing that the plane must land at Karachi air­port. Pre­vi­ously, Nawaz Sharif had re­moved Chaudry from his cov­eted of­fice as Com­mis­sioner La­hore di­vi­sion sim­ply be­cause he had at­tended the fu­neral of Aitezaz Ah­san’s fa­ther. There­fore, Chaudry took spe­cial care to obey the prime min­is­ter’s or­der with­out a ques­tion and blocked the Karachi air- port run­way. All he did was re­port the plane’s fuel po­si­tion to the PM’s of­fice to which he re­ceived no re­sponse.

There­fore, af­ter the coup, he was kept in jail. He re­mained un­der sus­pen­sion from Oc­to­ber 1999 till 2003. No de­part­men­tal pro­ceed­ings were con­ducted and even af­ter he was re­in­stated he was not given any post­ing un­til he re­tired in 2004.That it hap­pened with a grade-22 of­fi­cer, the high­est rank in the ser­vice, un­der­scores the sta­tus to which DMG has been re­duced.

The book is not only the his­tory of the Civil Ser­vice from its ori­gin to its present un­en­vi­able state chron­i­cled with painstak­ing de­tail, it is also the author’s mem­oirs, start­ing with the hal­cyon days of his train­ing at the Civil Ser­vice Acad­emy. He nar­rates his ex­pe­ri­ence in var­i­ous field and staff ap­point­ments, as sub-divi­sional of­fi­cer, deputy sec­re­tary in the provin­cial govern­ment, deputy com­mis­sioner, divi­sional com­mis­sioner, prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary to the prime min­is­ter to his fi­nal as­sign­ment as di­rec­tor gen­eral Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity and sec­re­tary, Avi­a­tion Di­vi­sion, which proved to be his swan song.

As the first civil­ian of­fi­cer ever ap­pointed to this post, Chaudry had landed into the cross hair of the PAF whose ex­clu­sive do­main it had pre­vi­ously been. And when he tried to en­force rules, he came into per­pet­ual con­flict with the PIA, PAF and even the GHQ.

The book is a gold mine of in­side in­for­ma­tion on how the ad­min­is­tra­tion func­tions at dif­fer­ent lev­els. The de­tails of pulls, pres­sures, in­trigues and bla­tant dis­re­gard of rules, are all de­scribed with can­dor. Gen­eral read­ers would find it use­ful as a his­tory of civil ser­vice in Pak­istan, but for the new en­trants into the DMG, it should be a must read to pre­pare them for the dif­fi­cult road ahead.

Re­viewed By S.G. Ji­la­nee

Ti­tle: Po­lit­i­cal Ad­min­is­tra­tors - The Story of the Civil Ser­vice of Pak­istan Author: Amin­ul­lah Chaudry Pub­lisher: Ox­ford Univer­sity Press (May 2011) Pages: 404, Hard­back Price: PKR 895 ISBN: 9780199061716

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