Playing havoc with CSS!

AS serious questions were being raised about deteriorating standards of civil services as reflected in poor pass percentage in last year’s written portion of the competitive examination, Lahore High Court has issued directions for the conduct of 2018 CSS examination in Urdu language. The court showed magnanimity in giving ‘relaxation’ for 2017 due to paucity of time but gave instructions to the Federal Public Service Commission to hold the examination next year in Urdu in line with Supreme Court directions on use of Urdu as official language.
The judge might have his own reasons in giving the judgement but there would be serious implications for the quality of civil services and standards of the examination. No doubt, in 2015, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court had issued directions for steps to be taken to fulfil constitutional obligation of promotion of Urdu as official language. The government has, since then, taken some steps towards this direction and, in fact, President of Pakistan has made it a point to deliver his speeches in the national language. But it has been observed that the Supreme Court itself has been conducting its proceedings in English and understandably so as there can’t be a revolutionary approach to the issue and implementation has to be gradual and in a logical manner. Apparently, there was hardly any justification to order conduct of the CSS examination in English when civil servants still carry their official business in English. Except for those who are involved in public dealing, majority of civil servants have to interact with the world in English language. It would be unfair to expect that all those whose medium of instruction was English in educational institutions would do well in Urdu examination. Under present circumstances, we need a bureaucracy that is capable of delivering in increasingly complex regional and global environment and the decision to conduct examination in Urdu would deal a further blow to this objective.

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