Home / Opinion / Degrading bureaucracy to the pit | By Raoof Hasan
Degrading bureaucracy to the pit | By Raoof Hasan

Degrading bureaucracy to the pit | By Raoof Hasan

Swearing allegiance to personal servitude of corrupt rulers

“If you want to raise the prestige and greatness of Pakistan, you must not fall a victim to any pressure, but do your duty as servants to the people and the State, fearlessly and honestly. Service is the backbone of the State. Governments are formed, Governments are defeated, Prime Ministers come and go, Ministers come and go, but you stay on, and, therefore, there is a very great responsibility placed on your shoulders. You should have no hand in supporting this political party or that political party, this political leader or that political leader – this is not your business.”

–Quaid e Azam’s Address to Civil Servants, Peshawar, April, 1948

Notwithstanding the presence of individuals rising to the highest standards of integrity, the history of the bureaucracy in Pakistan is pock-marked with instances of stooping to the lowest ebb of conduct by its officers. It is also that its former members, more often than not, and without casting remorse at their conduct during service, take pride in joining the ranks of those clamouring for the promulgation of the rule of law.

Where is the political team of the prime minister? Is it that his government has been denuded of support from within its ranks, thus forcing him to bank on members of the civil service to go out and defend his abdication of governance (of which the members of the bureaucracy are equally guilty), his corruption, the gross malpractices that plague his administration, the vile endeavours to hoist the Sharif family fiefdom on the country, and so much else?

It is also true that the instances of degrading the fair name of a service that is integral to improving the standards of governance and delivery can be traced to all interludes of the civilian and military governments, but the level of servitude expected of the civil servants in the Sharifs’ dominion crosses all decent bounds. It is, therefore, extremely painful to see that civil servants who, technically, are not beholden to any political party or political leader for their induction into the service in the first instance, or the expertise that they grow to command, act in a manner that is shamefully below all benchmarks of human dignity and conduct. It is also under the Sharifs that one sees a host of them appearing at public forums justifying the government’s performance and, consequently, investing in their post-retirement phase of life.

We talk of being part of the democratic world. We also lay claim to being civilised. But, let anyone, literally anyone, including the members of the bureaucracy in the country, point out a single instance of a civil servant from the civilised world appearing on prime-time media, and swearing repeatedly by God, hold his neck out for the transparent conduct of his political masters? It is done in Pakistan, and with aplomb and pride. It is degrading and humiliating beyond what words can describe.

Even more shocking is the fact that not a murmur of protest is heard from the community of civil servants who are being dragged into the pit because of the indisputably unprofessional conduct of some of their colleagues. Do we, therefore, conclude that the whole stock is termite-infected?

Where is the political team of the prime minister? Is it that his government has been denuded of support from within its ranks, thus forcing him to bank on members of the civil service to go out and defend his abdication of governance (of which the members of the bureaucracy are equally guilty), his corruption, the gross malpractices that plague his administration, the vile endeavours to hoist the Sharif family fiefdom on the country, and so much else?

Much that one may endeavour to take this in the stride – after all we have started accepting so much now that we could not even dream of just a few years ago – this is bound to have disastrous consequences and would administer the death knell to governance in the country.

Even more shocking is the fact that not a murmur of protest is heard from the community of civil servants who are being dragged into the pit because of the indisputably unprofessional conduct of some of their colleagues. Do we, therefore, conclude that the whole stock is termite-infected?

I would not like to say that because I am personally aware of the presence of some extremely honourable individuals in the circle of civil servants. They have acted within their professional domain and repeatedly rejected the temptation of being dragged into the political jungle that would have led to compromising their professional stature and reputation. But, then, there are also some who don’t deserve to be there in the first instance, and who have used their presence as members of the civil servants’ fraternity to cast an indelible blemish on the entire community, this at a time when the need for them to act in an unscrupulously transparent manner was paramount.

It is palpably clear that, besides being members of the civil servants community, practically all of them have been reduced to becoming members of one political party or the other, more so of the ruling mafia. This is so because they hold their promotions and privileges ahead of their duty to the profession and the state. As I have often said that these people, instead of remaining true to the dictates of their service, have sworn allegiance to the personal servitude of a bunch of corrupt rulers. Pakistan is the poorer for it.

Is it the lure of power, the resplendence of money, or both? Much that we may pretend not to acknowledge, humans are extremely vulnerable, at time despicably so. Much that we may pretend to be infallible, we are liable to fall. But, some falls are irreversible, including the fall from grace. Those cast in the vortex of corruption and unprofessional conduct are likely to remain irretrievably incarcerated with the contagion.

How far have we digressed from the course that the Quaid had chartered for the civil servants of the new-born country? How far have we regressed from his clarion command: “You should have no hand in supporting this political party or that political party, this political leader or that political leader – this is not your business”?

It is palpably clear that, besides being members of the civil servants community, practically all of them have been reduced to becoming members of one political party or the other, more so of the ruling mafia. This is so because they hold their promotions and privileges ahead of their duty to the profession and the state. As I have often said that these people, instead of remaining true to the dictates of their service, have sworn allegiance to the personal servitude of a bunch of corrupt rulers. Pakistan is the poorer for it.

Source: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2015/02/09/comment/degrading-bureaucracy-to-the-pit/

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