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Thursday, January 7, 2016

The collapse of state institutions

Historically the state institutions and bureaucrats were always completely under the control of the ruler.  They were neither professionals nor well trained; therefore, the working of the institutions were not efficient. All efforts were devoted to please the King instead of finding solutions to problems of the common people.

In this way, China, however, differed from other countries as here bureaucrats were selected for high government offices and a competitive system was introduced to recruit talented youth who would sit examinations and only after passing these would they be appointed as high officials or absorbed into the aristocracy and thereby assume the privileged status.

In a democratic system, the whole situation changes because this system ended the monopoly of aristocracy who were replaced by those who had merit and intelligence. It affected the working of the administration because the officials were now loyal to the state and not the rulers. During the colonial rule in India, the British Government introduced the competitive examination system for civil servants in the subcontintent who were responsible for administering government affairs throughout the British rule.

These bureaucrats reputed as honest and incorruptible maintained the control of the Raj and worked efficiently. As a result, these colonial institutions sustained the authority of the British over India.

In countries where the democratic system is stable and strong, state institutions are independent to govern the country. Generally in elections, people elect their leaders not only based on merit but also on propaganda and popularity. In the presence of mediocre leadership, the state institutions continue to run the affairs of the country uninterrupted.

Mediocrity can only be adjusted if the state institutions are strong and efficient.

In case of Pakistan, we inherited colonial state institutions in which the office holders are selected on the basis of their high merit and intelligence.

However, gradually our ruling classes distorted the working of these institutions, when competitive examinations and their high standard was deteriorated through lateral entry of individuals appointed from outside on the basis of sycophancy, nepotism and favouritism which polluted the working of these institutions.

At present, Pakistan is facing crisis after crisis as neither the state institutions are competent to check the deterioration and decay, nor the society and the mediocre, elected leadership has any vision or foresight to understand the complex problems of the country. Moreover, state institutions are serving the interest of the ruling classes instead of the people. They collaborate with dictators and corrupt political leadership, rendering damage to their own integrity and causing unrest and distress among the people; and when they fail to respond to the challenges of the time, the future of the country appears hopeless. Democracy could be useful only when politicians and the state institutions follow the policy of merit. 

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