RANDOM THOUGHTS : Naya Pakistan, Old Hurdles - BY: Dr. A.Q. Khan

Naya Pakistan, Old Hurdles
Dr. A.Q. Khan


The new government has hardly taken over and already the old (corrupt) one has started a vicious campaign against Imran Khan. Ours is a country where the opposition criticizes for the sake of criticism, not for the sake of constructive suggestions. Fully aware of the sensitivities of the masses about other religions, especially Ahmadis, nasty WhatsApp messages are being circulated against Imran Khan and his religious beliefs. Not only that, he is also being blamed for all the old evils he inherited from previous inefficient governments. Nawaz Sharif, immediately after having been “dethroned”, did not hesitate in blaming the PM he chose himself, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, for load shedding. If he had done his job properly, as claimed, why is there still so much load shedding now? The new government is not intentionally doing it just so that it can blame its predecessors! Imran Khan is still in the process of forming his various teams and adjusting/rewarding those who won seats. Unfortunately, we see some of the same processes as before in some cases – consideration of a seat in the Assembly taking priority over suitability, experience and/or education. This will, in the coming days, create many problems. If his team cannot deliver, Imran Khan will be blamed. Competent, experienced, efficient people/teams in appropriate places is a must for good governance.

Our current PM is widely travelled and he must have noticed that projects abroad are always aimed at being public/user friendly. For example, if a road is dug up, this is done only after a good, functional by-pass has been created with appropriate, clear signs. If electricity is to be cut for maintenance work, people are informed beforehand. In Pakistan, roads are dug up, telephone lines and electricity cut off without any consideration for the people and often the work is not properly completed, creating great inconvenience for the public. The projected work on dams will require many years (probably about 9 to 10) to completely and at a great cost. There are less costly and easier solutions available. We have many highly qualified, experienced water experts in the country whose advice should be sought. Twice a year great quantities of water are wasted and allowed to run into the sea, often creating havoc on the way. A system of storage lakes and flood protection of the villages/crops should be devised along the river beds on a war footing. We have a strong, trained and patriotic army who should be motivated to help in the development of the country along the lines as was done in China. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army played a dominant and major role in the development of China. I have seen this happening with my own eyes. I once saw a flyover being put up in a week without any disturbance to the normal flow of traffic. All their jawans were active in development works and kept physically fit in the process. Their expertise in pre-fabricated construction is amazing. They can put up a multi-storeyed building in a few weeks – no dust, no mud, no wastage of large quantities of water. In Pakistan, the army charges the same or more as private contractors to do any non-army job. Mr. PM! You and your team are planning to build a single dam in 8 or 9 years (it will probably take longer). My team and I managed to give the country nuclear weapons in 7 years. This was done by putting together an excellent team and with the patriotic support of Mr. Bhutto, Gen. Zia, Mr. Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Mr. Agha Shahi, Mr. A.G.N. Kazi, etc. We managed to do what many considered unthinkable and found impossible to accept.

One of the evils of our system is our outmoded, inefficient civil service cadre. Any BA/BSc/MBBS etc, can appear in the CSS exams and, if successful, will go on to become a “Baboo”, whether he/she has a degree in Urdu, Islamiat, Persian, Arabic or anything else irrelevant doesn’t matter. In time, these people become top bureaucrats and will often help promote each other’s careers. I noticed that in Europe (and China as well), civil servants are selected according to their specialities. A officer in the Ministry of Science & Technology will have a technical background and will spend his whole career in the same Ministry. In Pakistan, a CSS officer will find himself/herself to be Secretary of Science & Technology in one posting and Water and Power, IT, Education, etc. in the next, without having the relevant know-how. How can we expect them to function efficiently? I personally know of one case – an F.Sc. – who enjoyed G-22 positions in many ministries, even some important highly technical ones. We desperately need a system where the right man is in the right place – no nepotism, favouritsm, etc. From the many years I spent in Europe I learnt that one of the key factors for their advancement was the structure of the civil service. Other factors were honesty in doing their jobs, hardworking and a love for their country.

The whole nation is looking forward to positive achievements from the new government. Imran Khan has a difficult task ahead of him, but not an impossible one. We have seen how Dr. M. Mahathir and President Erdogan helped their countries advance rapidly to take up excellent positions in the commity of nations. Above all, we have the example of our neighbour, China. Within one generation their leaders and the hardworking public have turned it from an underdeveloped nation into the second largest world economy with a very likely possibility of it surpassing that of the USA in the future.

Despite the opposition, the majority of Pakistanis pray for the success of the new government. Using a helicopter for 3 or 4 minutes is much better than causing great inconvenience to the public for hours. It is better for the President, PM, CMs and Governors to use helicopters and to save many hours of inconvenience to the common man and fuel (and pollution) for many cars.

Posted on Sep 18, 18 | 5:36 am