The recently held Central Selection Board (CSB) for the promotion of senior civil servants has opened up more questions than answers. A number of disgruntled officers ignored on flimsy grounds are on their way to litigation or knocking the doors of the Prime Minister’s secretariat. Whether the courts, the Prime Minister or any of his assisting bureaucrats would afford the time and affection to go through the contents of the petitions and redress the genuine grievances of the ‘poor’ officers subjected to injustice – remains to be seen. Even if the petitioners get lucky enough to attract the tending of any of the ‘masters of fortunes’, whether their outcries would be treated as mere catharsis of their ‘misfortune’ or would they catch any iota of intent from someone to understand and do something about the ‘contemporary art and science of building fabricated perceptions’.

It is highly appreciable to promote honesty and integrity in every aspect of the society including the various components of the statecraft. It is also true that corruption – whether moral, financial or intellectual – has been pulling the cart of our national progress in the opposite and undesirable direction. All efforts to keep the corrupt and sleazy officers away from the helm of the affairs of the state are appreciable including their rejection in the promotion boards like the CSBs.

But how do they determine the incompetence, corruptness or sleaziness of an officer? Can over a dozen members of the CSB (about five of them belonging to the concerned cadre) aided by the reports of the intelligence agencies accomplish that? Yes, they can if there are cases of NAB pending decision against the officer under consideration. Yes, they can if there have ever been some references of corruption sent to the Anti-Corruption department or had ever been departmentally handled against the officer. Yes, they can if there is anything adverse on record in the PERs or the Training Institution’s reports of the officer regarding his personal or professional conduct. But in the absence of anything whatsoever can they still do it?

Citizens who care for their basic freedom of thought and action and the rule of law must be on guard against biased campaigns designed to silence the voices of reason.

Does this persecution need to be put to end? Do the overwhelmed ‘victimised officers’ having no way to go deserve some justice? They are the ones who would think more than twice to knock the doors of the courts of law as their meagre resources need more to be diverted towards the education of their children and their humble future endeavours. Do they need to be protected or condemned and left at the mercy of injustice and stoicism? Who will come to their rescue?

MUSKAN KHURAM,

Lahore, March 30.