Monday, April 19, 2010

Civil Servant: Then & Now

Today's dawn, letter to the editor by Haroon Siddiqi made me think that Pakistan was an opportunity lost in the dust of history.

Here is letter;

“Corruption and abence of accountability are the two weaknesses of the present-day Pakistan. The bureaucracy opting for Pakistan at the time of partition was free of financial corruption and vested interests of other kinds.
Except for some civil servants-turned-politicians, like Malik Ghulam Muhammad, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali and Iskandar Mirza, who undermined democracy in Pakistan as did the military dictators subsequently, the rest of the bureaucrats were role models of professional excellence and integrity.
Even the few aberrant exceptions named before had lust for power but did not indulge in financial wrongdoings and nepotism.
My father, the late Shujaat Ali Siddiqiui, was also a high-ranking civil servant at the time of partition in 1947. He opted for Pakistan and was made the Military Accountant-General to function under the ministry of finance, government of Pakistan.
Let me quote an incident from his legacy which speaks volumes about the code of conduct and accountability that existed for government officials when we acquired our nationhood.
Somebody made a complaint to the ministry of finance that the Military Accountant-General made a personal visit to Lyalpur (now Faisalabad) and claimed the reimbursement of railway fare subsequently.
It was also alleged that the office newspaper was delivered at his residence. The ministry of finance sought comments from my father. The reply he gave is reproduced ad verbatim for making a comparison between then and now.
"It is true that the daily newspaper is delivered at my bungalow. This is because the office opens at 9.30am while the hawker delivers the newspaper in the morning by Fajr prayer time. Consequently, I get to read the newspaper at home during my private time for taking notes where necessary.
“I, nevertheless, bring the newspaper to office every morning and have it placed in the library. The newspapers are sold as per standing instructions at the end of each month as ‘raddi’ and sale proceeds are deposited in the chest kept with the cashier, making suitable entries in the cash book which can be produced for inspection on demand.
“As regards my visit to Lyalpur, I may state that being head of the department I am also expected to look after the welfare of my staff. As such, for rehablitation of my staff and their families who had migrated on large scale from East Punjab, Delhi, etc., I went to Lyalpur to see my personal friend who happens to be the deputy comissioner of the district.
“He took personal interest in the matter and, as a result, I was able to secure rehablitation for over three dozen families during my two days stay there. I feel this visit of mine was justified.
“Still, if you choose to term it as unjustified, please say so. I shall not hesitate to refund the amount paid to me in reimbursement of the price of railway tickets purchased from my own pocket. I did not claim any daily allowance because I lodged with my aforesaid friend as his persoanl guest.”

3 comments:

Mike said...

VALUES WERE DIFFERENT THEN. SHOW ME ONE BUREAUCRAT NOW OF SUCH CALIBER OF YESTER-YEARS. YOUR FRIEND FROM MALAYSIA - MIKE RALPH (GUESS WHO)

HerInfernalMajesty said...

generalization is never a good idea. Look at it from a young civil servant s eyes

I see a lot of young very talented people joining the civil service only to be disillusioned very soon.
U can be as honest as u want but the going assumption is u work for dmg, police or customs etc so u must be corrupt, u work as hard as u can and then merit does not matter
and then you see ur class fellows doing so much better than u financially the office car (from private multinationals) that they have they can actually go pick up their kids in it and go shopping in it, they are respected and rewarded for the hard work they do where as the cm or some minister just yells at you and suspends u on the spot for something that is not even ur responsibility.

Then you had power, prestige and respect in society if u were a bureaucrat and the living was comfortable if not extravagant now u get nothing. no respect. no money nothing. why would anyone of any caliber wanna join the service?
But God knows we need them to.

This is getting too long but its sincere and spontaneous so i hope what i am trying to say gets across.

Yasmeen said...

agreed with HerInfernalMajesty....
I think we need to promote pakistan's postive and better side, and for that i am working on website http://www.tirmizivlog.com/ check this out !!