At one time, the Pakistani public sector, mostly highly technical and comprising of engineering and other professional organizations, was responsible for 70 percent of the Nation's Economy. On the one hand, it did wonders by forcing US Aid officials in early 60s' to bring their newly acquired Korean clients for study visits here and on the other by 80s' was regularly being castigated by the people for inefficiency and even corruption. It also became a bone of contention between the capitalist - having answers to all economic ills, and the socialist who still wanted the state to recognize and shoulder its responsibilities. That our country was still in the developing stage and possessed a nascent private corporate structure which could not as yet be called to cater to the socio-political liabilities of the government was never considered as any inhibiting factor. Nor were absence of regulatory structures any reason for sleepless nights as this premise to reduce the role of the public sector in absence of alternates was inherently flawed, we have ended up in a quagmire wherein both the public and the private sectors are unable to come up to the expectations of the public. However, due to various reasons - specifically being the past government's inability to shoulder its social responsibilities and on account of the privatization forays into its innards, the public sector is a pale shadow of yesteryears but still retains responsibility for a huge chunk of the economy. A little insight into the public sector reveals that much is amiss here, it has lost its earlier dynamism, and is now perennially loss making. This aspect alone is responsible for continuous bad publicity and the pressure on the Government by IFCs and lending agencies to put the privatization activity on the fast track. That all this led to the debacle of the KESC sale and the current stranglehold it has on Karachi and environs is however an aspect of privatization that needs serious study and so is the Pakistani Steel's aborted sell-off and the baggage it carries for the Privatization Commission. Coming back to the subject, we see that the so-called subsidies which the Government has to pay each year is erroneously considered to be on account of the poor performance of public sector in general. As most of the subsidies off-set high cost of inputs like the whooping increase in oil prices and to keep the various tariffs within the paying capacity of the people, public's mindset that these are on account of public sector inefficiency or corruption, leads to a wrong picture But perceptions are what matter; the public now accepts and also considers the public sector as wholly responsible for the loses being sustained by the nation. As a corollary, the people have concluded that the private sector is efficient, honest and that it alone can deliver. So as to confirm the veracity of this line of thinking, it is important to look into the working of the private sector in Pakistan. As this comprises the local enterprises and what is commonly known as the multi-national corporations (MNCs), it will be very interesting to first of all compare the working of these portions of the private sector first. The comparison can easily be taken-up through the information made available by the various stock exchanges of the country. Even a brief glance leads us to the conclusion that the yearly dole-out in shape of dividends and bonus shares etc. for the inherently Pakistani part of the private sector is just 10 percent of the same for the MNCs. As the profitability of the former is known to be good and also evident from the living style of the owners, the low distribution of profits to the share holders speaks of the level of honesty and integrity and the style of corporate governance in vogue. It also leads us to the conclusion that the auditability of this part of the sector leaves much to desire and that the present regulators are unable to put a check on the ongoing shenanigans as the MNCs have very small local ownership, their contribution in shape of yearly payments to the Pakistani share holders does not make any difference and the rule remains that the private sector doesn't much believe in any thing but for making the fast buck. Social responsibility is another area where the private sector including the otherwise responsible MNCs are found lacking to the core. Although social or corporate responsibility is propagated as a part of regular operations, the private sector is primarily found to be fully focused on increasing its profitability and mostly at the expense of the disadvantaged. Case in point would be the ever increasing cost of pharmaceuticals, specialized chemicals, pesticides, machinery - specially that pertaining to the field of health, gadgetry assisting special people including prosthesis and such like processes which could help humanity in improving itself. According to available figures, not even 1 percent of the annual turnover of the private sector (including the MNCs) is spent on the people from whom huge profits are made each year. Public sector with all its problems, on the other hand, can do quite a bit if allowed to follow the guidelines set for it in the regulations. A little insight into the working of the sector reveals it is because of the lacklusture leadership that most of the sector is clueless and operates in independent stand-alone packages. It is also not able to force the governments to correct their policies or to change the same in order to counter the various issues cropping-up from time to time. Case in point would be the time in the past when the present power crises was brewing, but the various heads could not stave the crises away and nor could make any impression or mark on the governmental policies in vogue then. This leads us to the requirement to focus on the issue of public sector leadership in its entirety. In order to look into the leadership issue, it is important to dilate upon the same during the authoritarian and the political regimes. As authoritarianism in Pakistan relates to army governments alone, hence we would look into the issues of public sector leadership during army periods and the same during the political eras interspersed in between. Surprisingly in the past, it is seen that both types of governments have been following the same stratagems in nominating public sector leadership. Incidentally, both have remained averse to professionalism or for accepting the specific cadre as the nursery for grooming or choosing the leadership. During both eras, the regimes have felt extremely comfortable by providing their own or their protgs for the public sector leadership. It was seen that the Khaki and the political animal was equally lacking and surely responsible for the rot around us. It is also imperative to look into the antecedents of these nominees. We see that firstly they were not professionals from the cadre and nor possessed any special virtue which could make them of any added value or advantage to the sector to be headed by them. In fact, they were mostly generalists or what could at best be called co-ordinating officers. These gentlemen would start learning the job by being placed at the head and retire the day they had learnt a little and the process would start anew. As they were rank outsiders, a constant acrimony would remain between them and the cadre, who would have to change style in accordance with the mother organization of the outsider head. While this generalist was being trained on the job but for his particular forte (maximum being general management), the professional from amongst the cadre was being forced to stay put, remain cocooned and stifled to the detriment for all. From the above, it is concluded that the professional will have to be given predominance. In case of issues of capacity etc, it will be incumbent upon the governments (both federal and provincial) to launch an integrated HRD program akin to that taken-up for the FBR officials. The same would have to be time bound and one which encompasses all the tiers of the public sector cadres/departments. It is also a fact that a large segment amongst the public sector professionals has, on its own, advanced and added upon to its capabilities and can effectively look after the relevant organizations/institutions to the satisfaction of all - specially the people whom the public servant professes to serve. It will have to be understood that the professional very easily adapts to new realities and has the ability to completely transform into the required state and that too in the least possible times, which is nigh impossible for the generalist. Moreover, he fulfills the basis requirement of higher management viz, have a deep insight and under-standing into the dynamics of the core-responsibilities, ability to dip into the current and future trends, come equipped with knowledge of the weaknesses and strengths of the specific sub-sector he is to manage, be adept at and be privy to the level of expertise at the disposal of the resource I cadre, have the means to fastly up-grade the same, be able to build upon the existing expertise (and not start learning about the core requirements), enable the organization to jump even higher by breaking earlier constrictions and barriers, effect change management in a structured manner, arrange conversion to the next generation of technologies, and lastly be able to arrange for a mix of science and sociology leading to innovations and improvisations that favour the people and so on. The capability to improvise and improve is the ultimate test of any good professional and an attribute surely beyond a generalist, however good he may. Thus even a little insight into the above ten facets of work and attributes would reveal that the minimum requirement for public sector leadership is the ability to improve upon the existing levels of competencies and not to go into a learning mode or to just stave-off any possible dissent. This can only be under taken by a professional and never by a generalist heading a public sector entity. The writer is an engineer and Member Central Council of IEEEP E-mail: cheema_tahir@yahoo.com