The present Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan has been struggling for more than 22 years expressing his commitment of changing the prevalent regressive system based on colonial heritage, to establish a vibrant merit oriented, people friendly system giving priority to the expertise and professionalism, matching latest requirements of our national ground realities. However it is disappointing that now his government is also pushed by mafias who have always been successfully justifying repeated experimentation in institutions to their advantage, glorifying old legacy of the colonial system, which had become a nutshell hampering the professional expertise and up-to-date knowledge of technical skills in every field of life. The administrative mafia whose existence has become outdated and obsolete due to our latest national requirements, have been trying to fail every government to prove that its dominance in governance was the real solution. The latest report of Reforms Commission about the so called Administrative Reforms is a similar attempt by the same self-centered bureaucratic lobby. An in-depth research has been conducted in the matter by a team including post-graduate scholars to study recurring weaknesses of our system of governance.

 1.         In this study it has been found by the research team that not only corruption was rampant as usual in all local institutions, but these institutions and departments are practically not bound by any rules or regulations, and any influential person or group would get the laws and rules interpreted or violated in his/her favor. It is a mess created all around with no limits and restrictions.  

 2.        The system of District Administration, which is proposed to be thrust upon at the federal, provincial, district and tehsil level, had already been found rotten, obsolete and having no relevance to the realities on the ground. The system was devised about 160 years ago by the colonial masters after the war of Independence of 1857. Even then it was publicly stated that this system would be made operative as a temporary measure to control the situation then prevailing in the sub-continent; otherwise it was considered by some members of the then British Parliament as highly suppressive and exploitative in nature for the people. However the concentration of powers at district level with Deputy Commissioner as its head, and Assistant Commissioner at tehsil level, suited the colonial interests of the British Government even during the long succeeding period and it was never allowed to change. The young officers who were ‘generalists’ without any professional or specific qualification, were selected to rule the country at local, provincial and central levels, and all the departments including the Police were made subservient to them. They were vested with vast administrative and magistracy powers. They were also Collectors of Land Revenue which was a major source of government revenue at that time, and this in turn increased their importance and power. This system worked for two reasons: (1) It served the best interests of the colonial masters as a highly centralized system; (2) The social set-up and its requirements were quite simple, particularly when land revenue was the chief source of government income. Such a system however was never tried by the British even in their own country. Dr. Hafeez Pasha, a prominent economist and former Finance Minister had prepared a report on Tax Administration Reforms during Musharraf Government. He had rightly stated that the ICS (later DMG and now Administrative Service) was a premier service because it was performing the most important function of collection of land revenue. But now the role of land revenue was negligible and so administrative service now should not have that much importance. In other words, its role was tied with land management of a simpler agricultural society. 

3.         This system was not at all suitable for our country after independence. However, Father of the nation did not have time to change the system due to his early death and then his successor Liaqat Ali Khan was also assassinated. Thereafter, the successive governments and civil bureaucracy both considered this outdated system convenient for themselves (for different reasons) and status quo served their purpose at the cost of long term interests of the nation. With multifarious changes and evolution of almost 160 years, this archaic, obsolete and irrelevant colonial system of 19th century is still being justified as “steel frame” of the independent country, which has outlived its utility long ago and which is totally out of tune with the complex present circumstances of 21st century, and cannot be termed as steel frame. The land revenue which was a major source of government budget in the colonial era, has now very meagre share of revenues at local and provincial levels. There remains therefore no justification to keep such an outdated system intact.  From close duty of the present situation we have come to the unambiguous conclusion that successive political and non-political governments have been saving this system due to maneuverability of powerful bureaucratic vested interests. 

4.         The system of selection of ICS/CSPs was primarily designed by the British Government to suit their interests. More than a hundred and sixty years ago, Lord Macaulay, one of the main architects of this system, is quoted to have said: “we will introduce a system in India whereby we’ll hire young graduates, whose flesh will remain Indian but whose mind (thinking) would become English”. So, such young ‘generalists’ without any professional knowledge were given all-pervasive powers as District Magistrates, administrators, prosecutors, and coordinators of all district organizations/institutions together with the power as collector of government (land) revenue. They were indeed the agents of Central Colonial Government at the district level and were considered godfather or ‘mai bap’ of the people representing the colonial masters. The professionals — the economists, educationists, engineers, doctors, accountants, scientists and experts were made subservient to them and were discouraged, since expertise or wisdom was the privilege of the British Masters. How unfortunate and shocking it is to know that even after independence, these professionals and experts, much more intelligent, hardworking and qualified, were not given the status of even a Gazetted Class two officers till early Nineteen Seventies after over thirty years of independence.

 5.            Due to weak social and political institutions and fluid uncertain situation inherited at the time of independence coupled with early death of Quaid-e-Azam and Liaqat Ali Khan, the old brand of bureaucratic system became more powerful in its maneuverability as king-makers and intriguers as a group, and it has been jealously guarding its supremacy at the cost of professional groups and specialized institutions/departments. The generalists have been the policy makers at the central, provincial and local levels with highly centralized mechanism discouraging professional expertise and indigenous local talent. This process increasingly discouraged long term planning based on expertise with proper priorities and consequently the system became the fertile ground for manipulation, flattery, corruption, malpractices, instability and resultantly tug of war and intrigues between various groups and institutions. Such a redundant bureaucratic system can survive only during uncertainty and instability of successive governments; and in the vicious circle both, the politicians and top bureaucrats, have been joining hands in the erosion of national institutions and in the plunder of national wealth.