Training institutes in Pakistan

Hashim Abro

Once late Agha Shahi, with whom I have had the privilege of meeting umpteen times to seek knowl
edge and wisdom, talking about the qualities of Pre-partition Indian Civil Servant (ICS) said that those used to be equipped with a passion for excellence, competence, professional awareness (sense of public service, service to the public, effectiveness (management techniques, individual performance) and personal qualities both inherent abilities and acquired skills. But the question is, where does our civil service stand nowadays? Although these CSS qualified civil servants are bound by the obligation to serve and to dedicate themselves to service, to renounce personal interests, obedience, confidentiality and professional discretion; but in most cases things are otherwise. As for interaction with many of them and understanding of today’s civil servants in Pakistan, “there is a dire need to promote professionalism and ethical values of the civil service among them, change the standards of behaviour among them. It is a matter of knowing how to make the role, professionalism and values of the civil service evolve from the current situation to the desired or desirable situation, which meets the expectations of the society in this minutely changing world. As an illustration, it is appropriate to give the summary of the code of ethics of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA). It would be desirable for Civil Servants of Pakistan to emulate it. The eleven principles of ASPA are: Respect for the law, Responsibility and accountability, Commitment, Rapid response, Knowledge and skills, Professional development and full realization of potential, Balance between the role of informed citizens and the requirement of political neutrality in professional activities, Conflict of interest, Justifiable denunciation, Public information and confidentiality and Professional ethics. However, time and tide calls for action and that is to transform our civil servants, among others, produce and groom well-rounded and ethical officers. Lahore based Civil Services Academy/ National School of Public Policy and other training and capacity building organizations must jump into pragmatic and productive action.

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