Opinion: civil servants not so civil anymore

The service to a few elected or selected lords at the expense of the larger population has turned the whole superstructure into a deplorable institution, argues a Balochistan based Civil Servant.

civil servants in Pakistan

Covid-19 has broken down colossal myths. Of the most significant weakness that it has revealed, the chief one includes the exposition of our utterly non-responsive governance structure spearheaded by a fattened bureaucracy (civil service). For more than ever and since independence, it has been this class of chosen ones who have been running the state affairs, calling the shots and managing governments.

Only until the call of Covid 19, it was learnt how many ventilators we had, what grossly primitive health system we had developed and what non-professional approach we had adopted towards comprehending issues and laying out policies. We didn’t utilise technical gadgets, statistics, effective methodologies and focused approaches. There are no chances that we will even consider professionalism as we are a nation for which learning from history, or from our blunders is too much to ask.

Ground realities being ignored; self service over public service 

If there is anything that elevates the bureaucracy its the well-suited selves, fluent verbosity, well-spelt policies but all restricted to the limitations of abstractions only and nothing in any material form. The actual use of implementing these policies on the ground is as worse as better these are in words. Our policy on paper is completely opposite to the ground realities. This qualifies us as excellent contemplators and worst implementers.

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The reasons which contribute to our continued wrecking failure are multiple. The disbranching of the civil services and its focus towards self-service is one of the dark reasons that have hastened our deterioration. The reality that we are the servants of the state composed of the citizenry and its transformation into the fiction of our being servants of some elected representatives has tarnished our reality. It has made the fiction predominantly obvious and the reality wholly meaningless. The service to a few elected or selected lords at the expense of the larger population has turned the whole superstructure into a deplorable and pathetic maid.

In return for the service rendered, personal accumulations have been rising among these gangs of civil servants and elected people in Pakistan. Unreasonably, the faces of the elected people changed now and then but the same bureaucrats have always been seen serving various masters at different times. This must settle down the fact that there has never been any philosophical or political ideological inspiration that connected these two faces of the status quo. Their marriage has been the marriage of interests and not compromise.

Political elite-civil servants nexus: no morals, no public trust

On the other end, the professional accuracy and the moral courage to withstand these monks of aristocracy never sprang up as an element of the motivation of self-consciousness. The murder of moral realization once and for all ended the chapter of civil service deeming their existence due to the people of the state on whose taxes they always thrived. This has been a golden handshake from the political elite who got the evil brains working for them. They enriched themselves at impoverishing both the state and the citizenry.

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The ultimate result is that for the people the government is an entity which does not mean anything. This realization has become so deeply imprinted on the peoples’ minds that they have even seized expecting anything from the government whatsoever it may be. This failed our policy and dealt a death blow to our governance structure. If summarized today, we would understand that the entire strip of civil service remains in serving a few political bosses rather than looking for serving the people.

The mental faculty and the ability to resolve issues and propose and implement grand designs also siphoned out of the mainframe of civil service with repeatedly committing the same mistakes. This broke down their moral character and bankrupted them of mental fertility. Now we can well see the professional inertia that has settled in their deep annals without any outlet.

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Masters rather than public servants

The current governance structure as it moves on is good enough to manage a colony reigned by a king or a queen but unluckily both are dead. We must believe by now that we have achieved freedom for more than seven decades now. The Queen left us but the Queen left us her legacy too, the pygmy Masters. The bad is tempting and the good is humble and Man by nature inclines more towards temptation than towards humility and so we are right at taking and feeling this moment of pride as being addressed as Masters than the servants of the state and the people.

The civil service means the engine of a government which is the reflection of the state itself. An incompetent, corrupted, self-centric, over-generalized, proud, cunning and jack of all trades and master of none bureaucratic model will consume the state silently and clandestinely like Covid-19 is currently wreaking havoc. Like no vaccine exists for treating Covid-19, no policy exist in redeeming, reclaiming and reorganizing our civil services which must at the core of their existence be re-taught the lesson of serving the peoples and not the few bosses.

Muhammad Jahangir Kakar is a civil servant and socio-political analyst based in Quetta works for the government of Baluchistan. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

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