Pakistan’s Bureaucratic Dilemma: Politicization
The Pre-Independence Tradition:
On Independence (14th August, 1947), Pakistan inherited some distinguished British Indian: ICS (Indian Civil Service) stalwart senior civil servants trained by the British in India and England. They were groomed as apolitical, non-partisan arms and eyes of the empire --- on which the sun never set --- in its hey-day. As such, though they were motivated by their monitors to rule as native `baboo-bureaucratic Saabs’, the Pakistan Movement’s spirit seeped into their minds to indigenize --- Pakistanize --- their mentalities as the Quaid-e-Azam’s trusted `servants of the people’ --- not their masters. Like the proverbial `soldier scholar’, they were well-educated scholarly civil servants. Their list includes Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, Mian Ghulam Muhammad, Iskandar Mirza, S.M. Ikram and the Shahi Brothers: Agha Hilali and Agha Shahi, as well as Mr. Ikram Ullah (husband of Shaista Ikram Ullah) and his name-sake, also of the PFS: Pakistan Foreign Service.
The Parting of Ways:
The irony is that while Pakistan’s home based civil services got politicized --- contrary to the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s directive-warning, the Foreign Service of Pakistan has continued to serve Pakistan’s Islami Ideological National Interest. And thus its endless galaxy of career diplomats, to date, including women, some of were / are `lateral entrants’ like the late Dr. Khurshid Hyder, and Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, who continues to make her mark by pleading for Pakistan at the UN.
The Post-Independence Deviancy:
Soon after the death of the Father of the Nation, in September, 1948, Pakistan’s civil and military top bureaucrats led by Mian Ghulam Muhammad, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, Iskandar Mirza and General Muhammad Ayub Khan deviated into national politics, claimedly to `set the house in order’ --- as the Governor General, Prime Minister, Defence Minister and President of Pakistan, respectively. This travestry of a trend has turned into an eerie cyclical-spiral mindset syndrome --- with no end in sight --- despite exceptions like Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, and later by Gen. Kiyani. The latest exempler is General Raheel Sharif, who has carved a niche for himself in the hearts of his compatriots --- and thereby, in Pakistan’s History --- for soulfully serving the Supreme Islami National Ideological Interest, against continuing Terrorism.
Such role models are urgently needed for securing most critically, the Sustainable Future of Pakistan.
Three Kinds of Bureaucrats:
Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of bureaucrats in Pakistan, in terms of its domestic civil and military services. They are:
(i) Those who remain scrupulously apolitical and non-partisan, sincerely serving the State through the government by conscientious dedication to duty. They have the moral sense of responsibility and courage of their convictions to render honest advice to the government. Some have had to pay the price for it, by delayed or blocked promotion, prevention from rising to the top, side-lined into marginalized slots and paralysed as OSD. A few have even resigned under protest, like the late Justice Samdani.
(ii) There are many opportunists who offer themselves for politicization, by back-biting, boot-licking and sycophancy. They thus become the gun-dogs of politicians stuck in the “Triple-P Syndrom” --- Personalism, Partisanism and Parochialism / Provincialism. Consequently, the Islami Ideology National and Interest suffer. The sole antidote of this poisonous Syndrome is the “Fourth P” --- Pakistan as Pakistani Patriotism and Pak. Nationalism.
(iii) There are also examples of Federal Secretaries like the late Qudrat Ullah Shahab, Altaf Gauhar, M. Aslam, Khawaja Abdul Qayyum, Soofi Saheb and Mr. Waqar Ahmad, upon whom greatness was thrust not just by the government and their rank, but also by the national situation and circumstances, to operate as king-servers, if not a king - makers. This trend is continuous, circumstantially and circumspectly.
Decadent, Degenerative Politicization:
Down the decades, Governments of Pakistan have deviated into the `Triple-P Syndrome’ --- simply to serve their own myopically short-sighted personal, partisan and parochial vested interests. And thus the frequent misuse of the sob-story provincial card --- at the cost of the perpetually abiding National Ideological Interest. This sinister Syndrome is seditiously subversive, being both inherently confrontationist and potentially conflictual. It leads to “bazar” --- street politics.
The puerile politicians’ “Triple-P Syndrome” has also politicized the domestic civil services, pollutantly, to serve the said Syndrome, seditiously. This is reminiscent of the Urdu couplet:
“Khud bhi dubay hain sanam
Tuj Ko bhi lay dubain gae!”
“We have drowned ourselves, O beloved
We will also ensure your drowning!”
The Current Base-Line Situation:
Unfortunately, that is Pakistan’s present politico-bureaucratic dilemma turned tragedly. It is an agent-instrument of the endless mountainous-mutinous corruption alleged and actual. From the grass-roots to the trunk, branches, shoots and tree-top. It has rendered the whole state-social system dysfunctional. Exceptions apart --- whether notable or not --- there are many --- today’s goody-goody `chocolate cream’ bureaucrats, rather than the traditional `civil servant’ per se (both men and women) --- have learnt to lie low and bide time. Whether meritorious --- efficient, competent and honest --- or not --- they are indecisive and non-committal. They are scared to give their honest opinion or take a stand. Ping-pong bureaucratism between the various departments, is the order of the day and the popular practice. “Afsar-shahi” --- “Officialdom” --- is their policy and practice. Sychophancy and yes-man / woman-ship is their strategy to rise to the top, safely and securely, in order to retire with hefty pensions --- if not blue-eyed extensions…..
Pakistan’s current-continuous immediate Future lies in:
(i) Opting out of the `Triple-P Syndrome’ in favour of the “Fourth P”: Pakistan --- because the former is deviously divisive, and dichotomously confrontational-cum-conflictive.
(ii) Depoliticizing the civil services --- according to the Quaid-e-Azam’s commands.