The main function of bureaucracy in any part of the world is to implement the policies of the sitting government with full commitment and devotion. The basic idea behind the formation of bureaucratic structures was to provide 'permanent government in the sense that the bureaucrats kept running the system of the government for the larger benefit of people as they were and are civil servants. Political executive in the form of politicians could come and go but the bureaucrats stay on to look after the working of the governments. So their job has never been formulation of policy. They do help political leadership in policy making but never make policies themselves. It is within the sole domain of the politicians to formulate policies as their mandate stems from their being elected representative of people. It is a pity that the political class has abandoned its role of policy formulation and bureaucrats have taken over this role by filling in the vacuum. Unfortunately our bureaucracy was and is involved in corruption. It has now become the strongest mafia of the country. Bureaucracy in Pakistan has always been in the background of every government and in fact it is an impediment to an efficient and effective government. Even most regimes in Pakistan including martial law governments have played into the hands of bureaucracy. In fact the so called administrative reforms of 1973 were a major setback to the well-entrenched Civil Service of Pakistan, as the CSP was made the prime target of these changes by the Z.A.Bhutto regime. A large number of CSPs were sacked, constitutional guarantees of civil servants were withdrawn, and a system of lateral entry was introduced. In the new dispensation, it was not merit, hard work or efficiency, but loyalty to the master which was the basis for all recruitment, promotions and postings. Z.A.Bhutto inducted 514 lateral recruits into the bureaucracy and diluted the authority of the Federal Public Service Commission. Democracy has not been able to deliver development and good governance as expected. Pakistan is facing a Herculean challenge to promote good governance and control corruption to restore peoples trust in democratic system because of our bigoted political parties. Standards and quality of life being enjoyed by the majority of our bureaucrats today leave no room for doubt that it has become an extremely lucrative and comfortable business to be a bureaucrat. The glamorous lifestyle reserved for the bureaucracy in Pakistan has few parallels in the contemporary world. Personal interests of the ruling elite and bureaucratic class are the main hurdles in real development of the country. Weak state capacity and will hinders development and good governance, which is a pre-requisite to institutionalization of the democratic system. Therefore, the focus of political leadership in Pakistan should be to create political stability and good governance for at least a decade to come to materialize the long-sought economic transformation. Political parties in Pakistan see democracy just as a 'legitimate recourse to grab power. This narrow interpretation of democracy not only distorts the true meaning of democracy but also alienates the general populace who has become disgusted with these so-called democrats who seem no more interested to the common cause for good governance, institution building, security, development, effective services and strong rule of law. In two decades of fragile democracy in Pakistan, many institutions have been destroyed. We have destabilized social harmony, ruined bureaucracy, police, judiciary, local bodies and many other key institutions. The civil servants have lost their worth, value and vigor. The performance and merit has become irrelevant for posting or promotion. It is time to reinvent the bureaucracys role. It would take decades, if not years, for a committed leadership to rebuild these institutions. SHAUKAT MASOOD ZAFAR, December 20.