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Five Rules of Civil Service Reforms (introduction)

President of AOAF has written a letter to KP finance minister to stop the salaries of PAS/PSP/PAAS officers from provincial consolidated fund.
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Five Rules of Civil Service Reforms (part 1)

By Tariq Mahmood Awan

The notion of reform has been around in cultures since renaissance. The Oxford English Dictionary defines reform as “The amendment or altering for the better, of some faulty state of things, esp. of a corrupt or oppressive political institution or practice; the removal of some abuse or wrong” (Reform). With this characterization and its substances, the tendency to associate reform with movement in an improved or better direction may even be synonymous with advancement. Regardless, the primary connotation of reform should be a change for the better, specifically a change more suited for acquiring objectives outlined by decision-makers in a particular vocation of play. The peril tied to assuming a universal meaning for reform is that the word (or any word, really) is context and practice-specific. The term has multiple identities, and the basis for differentiating between them needs to be clarified. The very identity of reform hinges on analyzing factors encircling the term’s application.

What is Civil Service? Civil service is the body of government officials employed in civil occupations that are neither political nor judicial. In most countries, the term refers to employees selected and promoted based on a merit and seniority system, which may include recruitment, training, posting, transfer, promotion, appointment, retirement, pension and other terms and conditions of services.

The article’s objective is to provide constitutional, structural and organizational insight into the rationale of civil service reforms. Reforms are always convoluted and laborious yet imaginatively innovative. Historical evidence ascertains that civil Service reforms in Pakistan have only been restrained to terms and conditions of services, not structural nor constitutional. Accordingly, reformers have been the implied snag in reforms due to their structural service magnets. Then, substantive reforms require autonomous reformers adept in constitutional, structural and coded law expertise and dexterities.

Historically, the East India Company homogenized a patronage system about the nomination of civil servants strictly within the elite club, thus barring a competitive process into the induction of civil service in India. The Government of India Act 1853 substituted the nomination system with an open competitive examination to recruit civil servants. Progressively, the Government of India Act 1858 afforded that India shall be governed by and in the name of Her Majesty. Consequently, this authorized the secretary of state for India to make regulations for the admission of candidates to the civil service of India. Accordingly, the civil service became competitive and accountable to the British Parliament. The Raj reserved the civil service of India only for Britishers; however, consequentially, Raj incorporated the local Indians identified with the Britishers into the Indian civil service through a competitive examination.

Pakistan came into being through the legal instrument of the Indian Independence Act 1947, and section 10 of the act ibid abolished the services of the secretary of state for India. Section 10 of the act ibid produced it clear that no provision of the Indian Act of 1935 relating to the appointment of the civil services and civil posts under the Crown in India by the secretary state relating reservation of posts shall remain enforceable. Pakistan acquired 82 Indian Civil Service Officers. Then, Pakistan Administrative Service PAS adopted all these Indian civil Servants who later became the most potent bureaucrats in the history of Pakistan.

The government of Pakistan published a resolution vide No. F.25/4/50-EST (SEI) dated 8th November 1950 to notify its intention to create the civil service of Pakistan consisting of posts on the cadre of the former Indian Civil Service in the various provinces and on the cadre of the former Indian Political service and most of the higher posts in the central secretariat. However, the lawful authority did not substantiate the intent and authority to create civil service of Pakistan CSP. Then, the government of Pakistan, through a notification of the Establishment Division bearing No. F.25/12/51-SEI, dated 01.06.1954, issued the Civil Service of Pakistan ( Composition & Cadre) rules, 1954 to constitute a service of the federation to be known as the Civil Service of Pakistan CSP to be raised on certain posts connected with the affairs of provinces and federation. The powerful colonial bureaucrats at the helm of affairs inserted the same colonial scheme of reservation of posts into the cadre schedule of the Civil Service of Pakistan. Then, the constituent Assembly of Pakistan enacted the constitution of Pakistan, which was enforced on 23rd March 1956. Article 182 of the constitution provided that appointments to the services of the federation or posts in connection with the affairs of the federation shall be made by the President or such person as he may direct. As regards to service of a province or posts in connection with the affairs of a province, the constitution assigned the exact role to the Governor. Hence, the constitutional provisions drove it clear that posts connected with a province’s affairs shall be the Governor’s constitutional authority; thus, the agreement empowering the Governor-general regarding the provincial posts should have been abolished.

The constitution of Pakistan, 1962, was promulgated on 1st March 1962 and came into effect on 8th June 1962. Article 174 of the Constitution provided that subject to the constitution, the appointment of persons to and the terms and conditions of service of persons in the service of Pakistan may be regulated by law. Article 178 empowered the President or a person authorized by him to make appointments to an All-Pakistan Service, a civil service of the centre, or a civil post in connection with the centre’s affairs. Exact powers were vested in the concerned Governor regarding the civil services of his province or posts in connection with the affairs of a province. The listed posts (Substantive Appointments) Act, 1967 was an Act of the National Assembly which authorized the President to prescribe a percentage of the superior posts in connection with the affairs of a province borne on the cadre of the Civil Service of Pakistan.

The Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, was promulgated on 14th August 1973. Article 240 was specifically inserted in the constitution in the aftermath of Administrative Reforms. Constitutional guarantees of the services were abolished, and it was made a constitutional prerequisite to regulating the service by an organic act of the legislature. Hence, the article confirmed that services could only have been established through an organic act of the legislatures. The constitutional article provided Federal, Provincial and All Pakistan Services on aligned posts. Therefore, All Pakistan and Federal services were required to be established by an act of Parliament on federal and common posts. In contrast, Provincial services and posts were to be regulated by an act of the provincial Assembly. Consequently, Federal and Provincial Civil Servants Acts were promulgated in line with article 240 of the constitution.

The Federal Government established the 12 functional groups or services via miscellaneous executive orders. Accounts Group; Commerce and Trade Group; District Management Group; Foreign Service of Pakistan; Income Tax Group; Information Group; Military Lands and Cantonment Group; Office Management Group; Police Service of Pakistan; Postal group; and Railways Group were established by the Federal government. The services of the District Management Group, Police Service of Pakistan and Secretariat Group were re-organized as All Pakistan Unified Grades APUG. The Federal Government issued several executive orders to remake the groups per choice. Accordingly, The Provincial Civil Servants Acts of Provinces were also promulgated in the wake of Article 240 to regulate Provincial Services and posts.

On 19-09-1993, a formula for the reservation of posts in connection with the affairs of the province was unlawfully and deceivingly imposed without lawful authority distributing provincial posts for APUG and Provincial Services. A couple of SROs in 2014 changed the nomenclature of APUG/DMG to Pakistan Administrative Service PAS. Under the design of Civil Service Reforms, a number of SROs were issued in 2020 relating to enhancing PAS posts in provinces, issuing directory retirement rules and induction of Provincial Officers into PAS.

The historical brief establishes that the civil service structures alongside coded law emanate from colonial governance. The civil service in Pakistan has constitutional, structural and organizational anomalies. Then, coded laws and procedures make it archaic to the governance challenges. The services present a secretariat mode of centralization with a general cadre orientation. Moreover, the services represent class systems. The services discourage specialization, decentralization and lateral entry.

To be continued.        

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