With a population of over 190 Million people, Pakistan has hardly any servants. It is indeed a sad state of affairs; no one to serve the motherland. From the choked, overflowing gutters to the paper stuffed secretariats nothing moves. There are no common agendas, everyone for himself waiting to grab and then run away with the loot. ‘Nader Shahi’ still rules in the land of the pure.

Engr. Shaukat Raza Mirza a great son of the soil, served as President and Chief Executive Officer of ENGRO from 1988 to 1997. He then went on to turn around Pakistan State Oil (PSO) where he was assassinated for taking on the internal mafia. On welcoming the visitors his words always were “I work here’. He never introduced himself as the CEO of the company. He served both ENGRO and PSO with honesty, integrity and hard work till his last breath. He went with his boots on.

Liaquat Ali Khan the first Prime Minister made a pledge to the nation, ‘he would only own a house when every Pakistani has been accommodated’. After his assassination in 1951 when the family had to vacate the official residence they had no place to live, finally they shifted in a rented house. By contrast, Ayub Khan the first Khaki usurper built his mansion on a hill top in Islamabad which his heirs then sold to Hashwani after his death. A four kanal plot was gifted to Justice A.R. Cornelius who lived in Fallettis Hotel all his adult life. Judge Sahib politely turned down the gift saying, ‘I am very happy with my residential arrangements, don’t need a plot, the allotment papers are being returned’, he was indeed a servant of the country.

Pakistan started off well. All those who were elected in the 1946 elections considered themselves to be the servants of the people. Till 1958 the country had no debt, the state lived within its means there was simplicity and honesty of purpose. It takes decades for credible political leadership to emerge on merit which is based on service to the people. Ayub Khan’s EBDO (Elected Bodies Disqualification Ordinance) wiped out the entire democratically elected leaders, to be replaced with third rate but subservient serfs. The pyramid of power was reversed with ‘Khakis’ on the top, ‘Baboos’ in the middle and ‘Siasis’ at the bottom. The elected representatives were required to serve those who were above them while ignoring the ones below them i.e the people of Pakistan.

The elected government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) tried to reverse the inverted pyramid of power. Till today the 1973 constitution stands out as a beacon of hope for the people of Pakistan. Ayub Khan was a major beneficiary of the murder of the first PM. Zia the third usurper followed the same course to get rid of democratically elected leadership. He brought the Sharifs into the corridors of power not to serve but to exploit and control the people.

In management the reporting structures are important. The fourth usurper used to talk about ‘Chain of Command’ and its importance. In the Armed Forces the rank carries respect while in the bureaucracy the grade matters. But all these ranks and grades are created to serve the people who are the customers and major stake holders of the state apparatus.

After the murder of the first PM, the country went into free fall, since 1977 the same evil mechanisms are in play. No one seems concerned about the country and its inhabitants. While people toil and pay taxes the state apparatus remains non-functional. Even public records have been burnt in major cities. The current government has ordered inquiry into these infernos.

Colonial institutions are not designed to serve, they rule through control. It is the genuinely elected political leadership that caters to the needs of the common man who elects them. Subservient democracy breeds corruption not competence which is needed to steer the nation. The former Chief Minister of Punjab used to call himself ‘Khadam-e-Aala’ yet all his acts were contrary to his claims.

Politics of PML-N were unique in many ways. It became a grand coalition of interests to launch mega projects for individual kickbacks. Human development was not on their agenda. In order to block devolution they formed several public sector companies which are now being investigated for corruption. Four billion rupees are spent annually to collect the waste of Lahore. Millions have been spent on ‘Saaf Paani’ project with no outcome. Aashiana Housing Scheme was another disaster. In order to award construction contract to their favorite contractor the bidding process was compromised. Conversations were taped and reported. Fearing reprisal the entire process was cancelled and re-tendered but the perpetrators of the crime were not punished as it was a grand team effort to skim the public exchequer and then share the loot. Finally the contract went to the contractor of choice against merit and competition.

Pakistan needs servants. Recently Akhtar Ahmed has written about the famous artist Jimmy Engineer who claims to be a servant, ready to serve. After the decade of the seventies a new popular leader has emerged on the scene. He has an opportunity to serve the people and then finally reverse the inverted pyramid of power to reduce the influence of the ‘Khakis’, Baboos’ and their subservient but corrupt ‘Siasis’ who have failed to deliver. Even the recent alliance of the corrupt will not be able to save them from political annihilation; those who have not served will have to go. Service has to be felt and seen not publicised.


The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan

Science Foundation.