Political Administrators: The Story of the Civil Service of Pakistan

Political Administrators: Cover In the sixty-three years since Pakistan's independence, military dictators have ruled for thirty-three. For the remaining thirty, we have had politicians ranging from the autocratic to the corrupt and inept to the clueless. These fluctuations between dictatorship and democracy could have been absorbed by a country with a functional and reasonably neutral civil service.

Pakistan inherited a well-oiled machine in the form of a bureaucracy that had at its core the Indian Civil Service (ICS). Within no time at all, its successor the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) first forged an alliance with the Army and actively undermined the democratic process. After the annihilation of the former in what was then East Pakistan in 1971, the bureaucracy aligned itself with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and after the coup of 1977 put all its weight behind Gen. Ziaul Haq. This flip-flop continued through the so-called democratic regimes of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif and the dictatorship of Gen Pervez Musharraf.

The institutional rot occasioned by these shenanigans did incalculable and perhaps irreversible harm to the civil service in Pakistan. The ability of this institution to deliver was seriously undermined. In sharp contrast, neighbour India which inherited the same structure, successfully adapted it to meet the demands of a democratic order.

In Pakistan the crumbling structure of the civil service has been highlighted by political analysts and academicians, but rarely by an individual from within. As and when civil servants have written, they have made an unsuccessful attempt to emphasize their neutrality, quoting instances of how they resisted political pressure. It is time that the truth is recorded.

  • A politicised civil service? - Dawn, 23 November 2012
  • A bureaucracy trampled - Dawn, 05 August 2011
  • Aminullah Chaudhry's ‘unputdownable’ memoir - The Express Tribune, 30 July 2011
  • Pakistan Today, The Review, 19 June 2011
  • Military in civil service - Dawn, 04 September 2011
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Pakistan (28 April 2011)
    ISBN-10: 0199061718
    ISBN-13: 978-0199061716


    © Aminullah Chaudry (Chaudhry), 2014 - adminZZZ@aminullahchaudry.com (remove the ZZZ)