Political Administrators The Story of the Civil Service of Pakistan
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In the sixty-three years since Pakistan�s independence, for thirty-three years, the country has been ruled by military dictators. For the remaining thirty, we have seen politicians ranging from the autocratic to the corrupt; from the inept to the clueless. These fluctuations between dictatorship and democracy could have been absorbed by a country with a functional and reasonably neutral civil service.
Pakistan inherited a well-oiled machinery in the form of a bureaucracy that had, at its core, the Indian Civil Service. Within no time at all, its successor, the Civil Service of Pakistan, first forged an alliance with the army and actively undermined the democratic process. After the annihilation of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971, the bureaucracy aligned itself with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; and after the coup of 1977 put all its weight behind General Ziaul Haq. This flip-flop continued through the so-called democratic regimes of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, and the military regime of General Pervez Musharraf.The institutional decay occasioned by these shenanigans did incalculable and possibly irreversible damage to the Civil Service in Pakistan. The ability of this institution to deliver was seriously undermined. In sharp contrast, neighbouring India, which inherited the same structure, successfully managed to modify it to meet the demands of a democratic order.
In Pakistan, the crumbling structure of the Civil Service has been commented upon by political analysts and academics, but rarely by an individual from within. As and when civil servants have written, they have made an unsuccessful attempt to emphasize their neutrality, quoting instances of how they resisted political pressure. It is time that the truth is recorded.