Yes, we can do it

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Pakistan’s most important institution of Bureaucracy has remained under immense fire for their undue subservience to the incumbent instead of law and constitution. Bureaucracy’s reputation has been severely damaged by officers who have let it down to a grave level but then are officers such as present Director General, FIA Capt (Retd) Ahmed Latif, who have proved that if a conducive atmosphere coupled with security of tenure and ownership is provided by the government they are fully competent to deal with any issue in the most incisive and effective manner.

Majority of the public servants have considered the Superior Courts of this country as hurdles in their effective working and blamed the courts undue intervention in their affairs as one of the main reasons for their inefficiency. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true. There have been instances where the courts have not exercised restraint but the Superior Courts in Pakistan have be enlarge given this institution the muscle and structure which was long required. Likes of Justice (Retd) Ameer Muslim Hani in the Supreme Court rendered judgments on service matters dealing with the service structures, promotions etc. which issues which otherwise should have been dealt with at departmental level but court intervention became inevitable. With all my disagreements with Justice (Retd) Iftikhar Chaudhry on a lot issues but I must admit that he rendered the landmark judgment of Anita Turab reported as PLD 2013 SC 195 ref whereby it held that “Civil servants owe their first and foremost allegiance to the law and the Constitution. They are not bound to obey orders from superiors which are illegal or are not in accordance with accepted practices and rule-based norms”.  It required a judicial pronouncement to make the public servants aware of this concept and the superior judiciary in Pakistan has been stating the obvious in this context from time to time so to ensure that the public servants realize the importance of abiding by the law and constitution.

Present DG FIA’s enquiry against Chairman SECP under the orders of the Supreme Court’s is praise worthy and his courage to recommend the case for registration of FIR against the ex-chairman SECP is commendable. He has lead by example and has proved that he is a true public servant who is free from all fear, apprehension and inhibitions. He has set a precedent for others to follow in discharge of duties as public servants. Wajid Zia is another example who was initially considered to be a bad choice by many but his conduct as head of JIT proved to be exemplary. It takes a lot of guts and courage to lead an investigation against the ruling family of Pakistan. His conduct is once against indicative of the fact that public servants need protection and ownership from the government to work diligently and effectively.

 

Its high time that public servants should realize that likes of Capt. (Retd.) Ahmed Latif, Wajid Zia, Javed Iqbal (Ex-IG), Abbas Khan (Ex-IG), Ahmad Ali Nekokara are holding the pride and esteem of the institution intact. Public Servants in Pakistan are expected to rise above their fears to deliver in a manner which can take this country far in terms of progress. I have a strong faith in the bureaucracy of this country however expecting them to perform without due protection envisaged under the law is also not fear. Brave officers take this initiative without any protection but have to pay a heavy price which not everyone can do. Going against the grain is not easy and when an officer does so he or she must be accorded ownership by the public.

 

I would like to quote an extract from Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s address to the Gazetted Officers of Chittagong on 25th March, 1948: –

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I want you to realize fully the deep implications of the revolutionary change that has taken place. Whatever community, caste or creed you belong to you are now the servants of Pakistan. Servants can only do their duties and discharge their responsibilities by serving. Those days have gone when the country was ruled by the bureaucracy. It is people’s Government, responsible to the people more or less on democratic lines and parliamentary practices.”

 

The Public Servants are undoubtedly the backbone of this country and in words of a poet

 

“zara see num ho ti mitti bari zarkhaiz hai saak”

“If there a little bit of moisture the soil is really fertile”