ISLAMABAD - President Asif Ali Zardari has said that efficient, effective and dedicated civil servants, imbued with spirit of service to people, could play a decisive role in finding solutions to issues confronting the country.

This he said during his meeting with the participants of 97th National Management Course of National School of Public Policy here at Aiwan-e-Sadr on Thursday. The civil servants can effectively assist the government in steering the country towards socio-economic prosperity and progress, he said. The President while interacting with senior civil servants remarked that being part of permanent State structure, civil servants are backbone of the administrative machinery of the country and have a unique role in policy formulation and ensuring its effective implementation.

He said it is duty of every civil servant to meet the challenges of administration regardless of any consideration of which political party was in power.

While remaining aloof from politics, a civil servant ought to understand the dynamics of politics, the President added. He said there was a general complaint that over the years the capacity of the civil bureaucracy has diminished.

He called upon the civil servants to reflect on this perception and analyse reasons for it.

He expressed the hope that the input by the bureaucrats would greatly help the government in formulation of appropriate policies to overcome the prevailing challenges. The President also invited the civil servants to also give a thought to make the system deliver better.

He said that it was the job of a civil servant to offer options to address the problems of the people and it was their responsibility to implement the decisions of the political governments with utmost sincerity and speed. On this occasion, Zardari also recounted various achievements of the present government including successes in the fight against militancy, granting provincial autonomy, bringing in 18th Amendment and 20th Amendment, the NFC Award, introduction of Aghaz-i-Huqooq-i-Balochistan, pursuing and strengthening the process of reconciliation, launching of the Benazir Income Support Programme, besides other steps.

But this is not enough, the President said. He said, “we have to build on these gains as we still have to travel a long distance.” The President said the govt needs the support of the civil servants in finding solutions to many problems of the country.

He said good governance was critical in enabling the people reap the dividends of democracy. Zardari further said: “strengthening of our institutions rather than individuals was the need of the hour to confront the challenges facing the State”.

The President also said the Government believes in safeguarding the legitimate interests of the civil service of Pakistan and was conscious of the need to attract the best talent in civil services.

He assured the participants the govt would continue doing its best to resolve the problems that stand in the way of a motivated and satisfied civil service.

While expressing the hope that the civil servants would continue doing their best despite constraints, the President remarked, “if you can bring about even a little improvement in the system, you have done your job”.

Later, the meeting turned into an interactive session where President Zardari answered various questions of the participants on wide-ranging topics which included among others the issue of militancy, economic issues, political stability in the country, Pakistan’s foreign relations, strengthening of bureaucracy and accountability.