Who is responsible for this mess?

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As one perceives Pakistan one gets the impression that we have got it all wrong.

Why? This impression once it gets going is difficult to remove.

Remember East Pakistan for the impression that the local population had about us was that we really did not care for them.

Forget the justifications they do not mean anything in social terms.

The gurus of economists then were doing things to placate them just as our teams are doing at the moment.

The story I remember was from my days at the London Business School (LBS) and the class was asked to do a consultancy for a book and to suggest the marketing strategy for the book on Nigeria called 'The Days of the Jackal'.

All of us suggested less than one million copies for print.

Well, it turned out that the number sold on the first day was more than a million copies.

Our marketing tutor then got hold of us in a post-mortem and suggested we had no linkages with the criteria for determination and that we were like the gunslingers in O.K Corral (a cowboy film).

That the lead actor was shooting west and the casualties were on the other side.

No bullet went to any other place other than the target.

There were no diagnostic skills that we as students showed and neither did we have any prescriptions.All of us were so much off-target.

When I look at the Pakistani scene, I am reminded of my days at the O.K Corral at LBS.

In those days, the media was not as irresponsibly independent as it is today.

Opinions and prescriptions abound.

The people giving suggestions have no sensitive job and are not responsible for anything, even the irresponsible opinions that they have stated on the electronic media.

The anchor persons are equally to blame.

Highly paid and minimal intellectual input for the diverse actions that they had to work on.

The danger of such acts is that the perceptions that these acts build have a corny effect on the public, who then interpret according to their own experiences.The heated debates on the social aspects of the judicial decisions are difficult to understand for it must be that the judicial system has to be obeyed.

The decency of any society is dependent on the arbitrator's decisions being implemented in letter and spirit.

When the decisions are not understood, it must be proper to go back to the judicial authority to seek a clarification rather than digging one's heels in.

Now consider the consequences in decision-making.

A majority of the ministries are not following the directions of the cabinet what to speak of the secretary and the ministers.

The overarching departments of Law, Finance, Planning and Cabinet are not only sidelined but also virtually sent to the bin.

Why should the Cabinet Division have a cell to see that the cabinet decisions are implemented? Why should the Presidency have to ask for the implementation report? During the authoritarian regimes, the President's office used to check on the implementation report.

Is it because we have incompetent people in those offices? What should be the criteria for the selection of the cabinet secretary for instance? Who were the most successful cabinet secretaries and then consider who have we got now? If the top jobs are given on considerations other than merit, merit determined by and as a result of analysis of the experiences and work of the individual that is what you get - inconsequential monkeys in top jobs.I do not have to follow the trend any more for the persons, for the bureaucracy and the political system have to graduate in life and be mature individuals.

The order-giving authority has to gear up for the ultimate in decision taking.

Who will tell the order-giving authority whether these are in fact legal or illegal? Loyalty as such, does not depend on blind acceptance of orders of seniors.

One learnt this lesson from one of my former seniors S.

K.

Mahmud, Dr Tariq Siddiqui and Shoaib Sultan Khan who always were for good governance and would help the needy and the destitute and would use their influence for the needful to be done provided someone's rights were not affected.

The culture in the civil services was that we could always go back to our seniors and say whether this was possible or not.

They always agreed as the responsibility was of the doer.

Now-a-days one finds that convenient postures are taken and the political system is wrongly advised.

The way out of this is that no member of the bureaucracy should ingrain themselves with the political system that they become a certainty in the system.

The other alternative is for the political system to work and read and interpret themselves.

That unfortunately has been lost as the martial law personnel have made this country go for simple summaries or presentations.

Not for doing work themselves.

In other words, these politicians read with their ears.

Get rid of all such people.

There has to be a censorship system that develops the rights and wrongs of governance.

The rules of business so often quoted by the PM in his recent sacking of the Secretary Ministry of Defence is indicative of the lack of knowledge of rules of business.

For the rules of business speak radically of the disagreement between the secretary and the minister, and if there is this disagreement, the orders on the relevant files have to be taken from the next above.

The pliable civil servant is mortgaged under the relentless attacks by the political system and the threat of removal from service.

The tragedy is, if tragedy it be, that most of the arguments are for tangible assets or jobs.

That means that conflict resolution was written in the rules of business and this was to be on the basis of issues and not on the basis of likes and dislikes.

These days the political/power systems are seeking entry into all kinds of fake and systematically irregular (maybe illegal, maybe just not done) orders that will dissipate and destroy any sector.

No wonder that there is a collapse of governance on all sides.

There is what Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon stated, a span of comprehension and a span of control which every individual has to a degree.

The better ones are the persons who would be ideal and taken as managers with a lot more responsibility.

The modern complexity of governance requires a different kind of civil servant.

In a country such as Pakistan the plurality of the governance is not understood.

The colonial system developed the areas according to their own requirements and this is heavily lodged in our psyche.

Every time one has tried to change the systems in agriculture the one attitude that is given as justification for continuing with the policies given by the dead is that we have always done it this way.Pakistan's peculiar concepts of loyalty are so immersed in our psyche that it is impossible to think otherwise.

There is the caste system, the collective family, the nucleus and the braaderi system not to speak of the normal ethnicity that engulfs the social systems.

Modern social assets building have further complicated the harmony in the system.

One has not spoken of the tribal system.

Probably the best aspect of this comes from the minutes that Macaulay wrote on the social aspects of the sub-continent and not one has really studied these for the conceptualisation was different.

Relate the two strands and try and determine a new equation for governance for unless we do this we will have some difficulties and these will be compounded by time.What about the expatriates? The realisation must also come that those that have been out of Pakistan during the period that they were wanted here should not be allowed any responsibility now that they have been discarded by the west.

The institutional issues have to do with whether it is worthwhile to have international agencies run up the debt burden to such a high level.

Does Pakistan need this kind of support? Why and how have other countries weathered this kind of storm? Vietnam, now Iran and even our friend of all times - China have done this with some success.

Whether this debt, from International agencies, was for production, consumption or just for conveniences of the few? Pakistan's economic managers have not been all rounders and majority of them have not ventured outside Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi and recently Multan.

There is much to be said for the misallocation of resources simply because they do not have the knowledge and courage to speak of alternatives before these authorities that seek to have overhead bridges and underpasses as indicators of development.

Well concrete never stuffed any one's stomach and was never a basis for nourishment then or and now.What is then to be done? Get the fat out of the system.

No salary as pension.

Get the misallocation of resources out of the way.

Get the ego-oriented projects out of the way? Examine the public sector and get the fat out of the system.

Get Wapda, Sui, PIA and other wasters to do their jobs.

Grandiose designs may be alright when things are going our way but not when everything is on the dung heap.

There is more to this then just providing jobs to relatives and connections of whatever kind? Do the needful before it is too late.

Courtesy: Business Recorder

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