In 1972 the Government of Pakistan appointed an Administrative Reform Committee to study the role of civil bureaucracy in the context of socio economic political development of the country and formulate recommendations. The recommendations of the committee were taken into consideration seriously by the government and formulated the Administrative Reforms of 1973. These were announced by then Prime Minister Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, in widely publicized address to nation.
The Bhutto regime proposed sweeping reforms in the public service structure of Pakistan. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, a government could muster the political will to change the power structure through administrative reforms. The Bhutto regime was able to implement far reaching administrative reforms with relative ease and in very short span of time. The reasons for this success were first; his government has come to power through a free election with an overwhelming mandate. Second; the leader of the government enjoyed national status and was personally very popular among the masses. Third a relatively united political party provided a legitimate power base to leadership. Fourth the political leadership – particularly the central cabinet – was composed of able politicians, professionals with experience, intellect and political clout.
The basis of the formulation policy included the following.
1. The abolition of service cadres, and their functional replacement by the “occupational Groups”
2. The establishment of a Unified National Pay Scales replacing the numerous pay scales in practice at the time of reform.
3. The discontinuance of the practice of reservation of posts for members of the elite cadre such as the Civil Services of Pakistan (CSP).
4. The abolition of the CSP Academy.
5. The establishment of a joint pre-service training program.
6. The introduction of “lateral recruitment” program.
7. The establishment of a provision for vertical movement between cadres was also introduced.
8. The creation of Federal Public Service Commission.
Each of these provisions was taken separately that constituted a significant departure from established pattern of administration which inherited from colonial legacies. The scope was certainly ambitious and without much exaggregation can be described as revolutionary in the reform history of Pakistan.
Major Issues of the Reforms
The following major issues areas were identified by the administrative reform committee.
1. Reservation of Posts – Whether certain posts in the secretariat, district administration, economic pool etc. should remain legally reserved for members of designated service cadres.
2. Pay differentials – Remuneration of officer will be based on Cadre wise scale
3. Status of All Pakistan services- To be modified
4. Status of CSP – Roles function and powers of CSPs were modified
5. Affective sentiments – Civil Service of Pakistan was said to corrupt, inefficient and arrogant. This issue was addressed by curtailing the elitism of services
6. Lateral recruitment – Provisions were made for recruitments to posts within central superior services through competitive examination
7. Horizontal movement – Movement from posts of comparable levels within a given cadre was allowed to take place to posts in other cadres.
8. Status of technical officers – Should officers with technical training hold policy making positions or not.
9. Role of Head of Department – Optimal relationship between line and staff officers favoring paramountcy of latter was modified.
10. Status of pre training – Changes were made in pre-service training of recruits to central superior services.
11. Service tribunals – Service tribunals were established.
12. Role of FPSC – FPSC was established and its role in the affairs of personnel administration and recruitment was decided.
13. Status of establishment division – Role of Establishment division in the whole system was decided.
The objective conditions were highly favorable for the administrative reforms in 1972. it was indeed a suitable time for the formulation and implementation of the administrative reforms. The most important factor was the dismemberment of the country in 1971 that eventually created an objective situation for he adoption of the reforms. As a result membership in higher circles of civil bureaucracy was reduced nearly half, when Bengali officers opted for newly created state of Bangladesh. Finally aftermath of war of 1971 created vacuum for first civilian government in Pakistan which was the logical outcome of the first general elections since independence, 1947. The reforms were primarily designed to achieve political motives; it is undoubtedly the case that Prime Minister Mr. Z A Bhutto’s regime had compelling motivations to challenge the authority of bureaucracy. Bhutto unlike the preceding political leaders also enjoyed legitimacy and support of people.
Political Motives of Bhutto Administration
Bhutto specifically targeted the powerful & privileged Civil Service of Pakistan. Bhutto foresaw the discretionary powers of the CSP officers as an obstacle to the exercise of super powers concentrated in the office of the prime minister under 1973 constitution. He wanted politicians to have greater freedom to make decisions, and he wanted to make bureaucracy accountable to people’s representatives.
Bhutto demonstrated a decided antipathy towards members of Civil Service of Pakistan. Bhutto began his tenure by dismissing 1,300 civil servants, including some senior CSP officials of the highest ranks; the public service structure was completely changed. The CSP lost its elite position and all the various cadres and services were merged to unified grades.
Bhutto was very critical to the CSP in his public utterances, referring towards CSPs dominance of bureaucracy. Civil servants who have worked in the districts and provinces had mastered all the methods of manipulating the feudal, ethnic and political factors. The bureaucracy has been generally accused of preventing the growth of democratic local self government.
Bhutto had a desire to gain some measure of control over civil bureaucracy. 1973 constitution did not provide any security for civil servants. The previous documents had provided that the civil servants could only be dismissed with cause. The civil servants had recourse to the courts to defend and uphold their rights.
Bhutto also wanted to get some control over the recruitment process. After the introduction of these administrative reforms for the first time in history of Pakistan, a government could muster the political will to change the power structure through administrative reforms.
Pakistan witnessed its third Marshal-law in 1977 when a military coup was installed as CMLA. The army bureaucracy nexus emerged as predominant influence over public administration and public policy. The first thing that was done to legitimize its assumption of power by discrediting the powers of its predecessor. The administrative reforms introduced by Mr. Bhutto were characterized as a politically motive and a obvious attempt to control. Following steps were taken by the new government;
A Pay and service commission was established the question of terminating the quota and recommended termination of quota system by a modification for 20% merit instead of existing 10% merit reservation. The proposal was not accepted by government and President Zia in March 1984 announced a 10 year extension of the federal quota until 1994.
New government abolished the lateral recruitment programme and Zia regime reappointed several CSP officers who had been dismissed by Bhutto. Every division and district had a Martial law administrator wherever and whenever they considered it appropriate. A great number of state owned enterprises and government were staffed with military personnel. The civil servants who had identified with Bhutto regime were retired or dismissed. At the same time many several officers were terminated primarily through early retirements who had been appointed by Bhutto’s regime. Such actions were regularized in an amendment in Civil Servants Act of 1973. Section 12-A introduced on July 3, 1980 which empowers the President to remove any civil servant appointed or promoted from January 1, 1972 to July 5, 1977.
Later on General Zia-ul-Haq had gradually civilianized and politicized his administration under pressure from national and international sources. The civilian bureaucracy began to assert itself and re-emerged as a powerful group. The former CSP cadre and its successor, the District Management Group seems to have regained a great deal of power and prestige.
Despite the fact that Civil Services of Pakistan have been still running on the pattern set out by British Raj (no major change has been performed), the Musharraf government started a major reform process of it. The task was to be performed by National Commission of Government Reforms (NCGR) under the chairmanship of Dr. Ishrat Hussain, the former governor of State Bank of Pakistan. The final report that was published in September 2007 stated that four CSS cadres i.e., Pakistan Railway Service, Pakistan Postal Service, Commerce and Trade Group, and the Information Service of Pakistan, should be axed. According to the recommendation, Postal and Railway Service should be made autonomous commercial bodies, with Information Service be suspended till further notice. The report also highlighted broad changes in the examination system, with the recommendation of a personality test are made part of the selection process. The recommendations have not been implemented by the relevant authorities.
The civil service reforms are in fact mirror of our national history. Political, economic and social conditions played important role in changing the face of civil services. Moreover, civil service is now not the only career most desired by everyone. The character of the state has changed over time and the role of media has become a force to be reckoned with. All these factors have made civil service reforms essential. The good old days which are cherished by civil servants cannot return. The new emerging realities have new challenges and opportunities for the civil service. However, all these reforms have affected the training of the newly recruited officers. In the subsequent section we look to see the effect of the eras on the CTP’s objectives and syllabi over the years.