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Bureaucracy or political bureaucracy.

It has been seen lately that there has emerged significant changes in the administrative machinery of our country - possibly as a result of "political party based administrative functioning". What I am saying is that in general the bureaucratic positions today are given on likes and dislikes of the political government and not on the basis of seniority, efficiency or the need for that job. The point then is, is it good or bad for the country?

Before answering this it would be fair to glance over the origin of the present administrative set up and changes that have been cropping up from time to time resulting from changed circumstances and requirements; and last of all we would suggest what changes may be adopted to match the need of the time, today.

In 1947 when Pakistan came into being we inherited a colonial pattern of administrative functions. Unfortunately since then we have not introduced any visible change in this system of work; which has led to status quo position somewhat, obviously the need was to bring in changes matched to a free and democratic Pakistan.

The present administrative machinery really took its origin on 31st December 1600 when the English entered the subcontinent under the pretex of trade, later they gradually converted this trade into administration! We all are aware that in 1772 the Nawab gave the Diwani Collection rights to the English; this really marks the beginning of our present administrative lay out. Thereafter with the passage of time changes were made here and there by the English which were necessary to match their requirements. Some how we have tried to follow this pattern whereas our circumstances demanded some real overhauling rather than adjustments here and there.

But then why could we not introduce the required changes? Not only that with the passage of time our administrative set up has become much more stubborn and arrogant. Why? The reason may be the long authoritarian martial law period which might have prompted similar civil administrative set up and functioning or whatever. The fact remains that our administrative machinery has not been people oriented as such it has not been able to come up to people's expectations and thus command respect from them. No doubt efforts were made to streamline the administrative machinery as was evident from the fact that a number of Commissions i.e.
1. Justice Munir's Report 1949
2. Egger Report 1953
3. Gladiex Report 1953

4. Chapter on Public Administration

in the First Five Year Plan

5. Report of Paul L Beckett 1957

6. Central Administrative

 Report (G. Ahmad) 1961
7. Cornelius Report 1962

8. Chapter on Public Administration

in the Second Five Year Plan

9. Cornelius Report 1970 were set up for the purpose but their recommendations were never implemented. Some of the drawbacks in our administrative set up as pointed out by these Commissions were: 1. While fundamental government policies

have a clear bias in favour of

development, the administrative system

was wedded to status quo. 2. The Public Service was too subservient

to general notions of intelligence and

ability and the administrative talent was

considered to be the exclusive product

of liberal arts. 3. Public Service was still fundamentally

the product of the nineteenth century

philosophy of the Northcot Trevelyon

Report which considers that young men

whose studies have no connection with

any profession were better for

administration compared to those who

have devoted themselves to special

studies of their calling. 4. Generalists do not stay in their job long

enough to develop special skill, loyalty,

and pride of performance. They move

too frequently. They look like a box of

interchangeable parts in an assembly

line. 5. Scientists, engineers, and members of

other specialised classes were not given

full responsibility nor the corresponding

authority they ought to have. 6. The system of classes in the services

structure each with its own pay and

career structure result into a hindrance

for smooth functioning of work. Then

the services were divided into classes

both horizontally and vertically. 7. Public servants were imprisoned behind

the high walls of career services so they

develop little common allegiance - These

water tight compartments militate

against achievement of administrative

success, encourage class

consciousness, create conflicts and

present maximum utilization of

components in accordance with the

aptitudes. 8. There was lack of good rapport between

general administration and technical

staff. The generalists insist on

maintaining their traditional supremacy

while the specialists were determined

to have a place in the sun. 9. There was not enough contact between

services and the community. Whereas

the father of the Nation remarked: "Make

the people feel that you are their

servants and friends, maintain the

highest standard of honour, integrity,

justice and fairplay. If you do that

people will have confidence and trust in

you and will look upon you as friends

and well wishers". 10. The personnel management was self-regulating

and self-perpetuating. Those

who control the system were its

beneficiaries and products were

themselves an integral part of the

dominant administrative class.

To overcome these problems the measures suggested were: a) There should be a Unified Civil Service

with unified loyalty and common respect

and understanding amongst its

component parts. b) The concept of All Pakistan Services

should be broadened so that the

economists, agricultural experts,

doctors, educationists and people from

other professions - both from Centre

and the Provinces may be

accommodated in it. c) The practice of reservation of vacancies

should be discarded. No one should be

allowed to hold a virtual monopoly on

advancement to senior positions. d) The services should develop greater

professionalism both among specialists

and administrators. The principle of

career management should be a

progressive development within a

specialism and between fields of activity

that are related to each other. e) All candidates recruited through

competitive examination should be

trained at the same academy. f) It was necessary to replace the present

multitude of classes and career structure

by a classless, uniformly graded

structure of the type that was now being

adopted in many large business firms

and similar to the system being practiced

by the services in the United States. It

will be in the fitness of things that some

20 grades could contain all the jobs from

top to bottom. g) There should be Central Personnel

Management Bureau working directly

under the Prime Minister. h) Employing departments should have an

effective role in recruitment of the

management staff specially in the

planning of careers. The main

responsibility must remain with the

employing departments. i) There should be greater consultation

between higher and lower grades of


At this moment it would be proper to say that the present administrative reforms which are being followed or are being attempted to be implemented were really introduced by the Government of that time in 1973. These reforms were introduced because the Government at that time wanted some other reforms in other fields too, to take shape; as such these reforms should not be seen in seclusion from others - Now that the Government has gone and its other proposed reforms not implemented the present administrative reforms appear un-matched to circumstances!

With this background there appears to be confusion all around keeping in view the requirements of time - It is also seen that when the new government comes in power it picks up its own "working favourites" and then starts running the affairs of the state; leaving the others untouched (they could go to hell attitude!) thus these non-working workers are paid without working! All this leads to waste of time, energy and money - This also leads to the fact that our administrative machinery has acquired such a bulky shape and has become so unwieldy resulting into swelling up of the unproductive public expenditure enormously. Not only that the working room or space for the people who want to work has become small and inadequate. This in turn ruins efficiency and everything around. So what should we do?

Instead of piling up OSD's in the Establishment Division paying them for doing no work and similarly maintaining and developing a non-working fleet in other Government Departments there should be a system with which all these bureaucrats should "go" thus making room for the people whom the political government think fit for delivering the goods. This way we would bring in efficiency and would thus eliminate waste - What I am suggesting is a few but efficient political bureaucrats. Efficient from political government's point of view; rather than the colonial pattern of bureaucratic force which was said to fit in all environment but actually it was good for nothing.

The way out appears to be that when the new Government comes in at the helm of affairs it should bring its own bureaucratic team from wherever it wants while the old one should be "dissolved" - a system something like what they have in U.S.A!
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Author:Manzoor, Nayyer
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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