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EXCERPT: The founding fathers

The following excerpt is taken from the chapter “The Civil Service of Pakistan”

AT independence Pakistan faced an acute shortage of experienced senior administrators. In the government of undivided India there were only two Muslim ICS officers and one Muslim Indian Political Service (IPS) officer who had risen to the position of joint secretary, namely Mian Aminuddin (ICS, 1923), Ikramullah Khan (ICS, 1927), and Lieutenant (retd.) Iskander Mirza. There were experienced individuals working in other All-India Services: Malik Ghulam Mohammad, Chaudhri Mohammad Ali, G. Ahmed, Qurban Ali Khan, and S.A. Hasnie, to name a few. In addition, there were half a dozen Muslim deputy secretaries in the Secretariat in Delhi. The Hindus were far better placed. In 1947, they were working against posts of secretary Agriculture, Commerce, Commonwealth Relations, Defence, Labour, Works, Mines, and Power. In addition, chief secretaries of two provinces were Hindu.

Obviously, something very drastic needed to be done if the machinery of government in Pakistan was to be kick-started. Chaudhri Mohammad Ali, an officer of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service, suggested the creation of the position of secretary general in the government. The Quaid-i-Azam and Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan were clearly impressed with this scheme of things. Not only was the post sanctioned but Chaudhri Mohammad Ali was also appointed to it. “The office of Secretary General acted as a clearinghouse for information between various Ministries and also between the Central government and provinces.”

The secretary general headed both the Cabinet and Establishment divisions and in a sense was the linchpin of the whole structure. “By being in charge of the establishment, and thus of the posting and transfer of officers, he could prevent severe shortages of manpower from developing in any sector, central or provincial, and ensure an equitable distribution of the administrative talent available.” Both the Quaid-i-Azam, as governor-general and Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan were deeply involved in attending to political issues. This left the administration headed by Chaudhri Mohammad Ali to take on a role that in normal circumstances would be performed by the political leadership.

A number of former ICS/IPS/IP officers were promoted to the position of central secretaries. Ikramullah became Foreign Secretary; Colonel Iskander Mirza became Defence Secretary; G. Ahmed became Director Intelligence Bureau, while some from other services including Yaqub Shah (Auditor General) and Z.H. Khan (Communications Secretary) were also accommodated. A number of Englishmen who opted for Pakistan including Victor Turner, Mac Farquhar, Harold Shobert, and Wilfred Grigson were appointed secretaries.

The secretary general was assigned the responsibility of setting up a senior management cadre in government. It was decided as a first step to constitute a Federal Executive Service organised along the lines of the ICS. Its strength would be drawn from Muslim ICS and IPS officers, British ICS officers who had opted to serve in Pakistan, War Service appointees and selected officers of the Provincial Civil Service (PCS).

Initially, 83 Muslim ICS officers, 12 Muslim IPS Officers, one Indian Christian ICS Officer and 11 War Service officers were inducted into what was then called the Pakistan Administrative Service. It may be remembered that British ICS officers were given an option to serve in either of the two independent countries. The vast majority preferred to take retirement from the ICS and re-enter through a contract. Fifty British ICS and IPS officers were appointed to this cadre. Finally, a number of officers who had qualified for appointment to various Indian accounts and taxation services were also given the opportunity to join the Pakistan Administrative Service, which incidentally had no Constitutional cover. Not all the officers were available for assignment. “Fifteen of these officers had been posted to judicial work in India and continued in such work in Pakistan; six were given diplomatic assignments, mostly abroad.”

In addition to the ICS and IPS Officers mentioned above, a General Administrative Reserve (GAR) was founded to man middle level appointments in the Secretariat. This administrative arrangement was to be discontinued once a sufficient number of CSP and PCS officers were available.

Chaudhri Mohammad Ali visited London in 1948 to select contract appointees from amongst former ICS/IPS officers. Among those selected was Eric Franklin who was appointed deputy secretary in the Establishment Division in 1949 and did most of the groundwork required in connection with putting together an elite civil service.

In 1949, the secretary general chaired a conference attended by provincial chief secretaries, finance secretaries and the relevant staff including Eric Franklin who was appointed secretary of the conference to consider the proposals. In December 1949, a conference of provincial premiers chaired by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan and attended by Iftikhar Hussain Mamdot and others was held to give final shape to the proposals. Based on these decisions the CSP Resolution was published in November, 1950, and seniority list was compiled in 1951.

The CSP was set up after exhaustive and prolonged negotiations between the centre and the provinces. The working papers were circulated well in advance and the provinces were given an opportunity to freely express their opinions. The CSP was founded in an atmosphere of trust and mutual adjustment. Experience gained over the last century was not disregarded and no effort was made to throttle the opinion of the provinces.

Excerpted with permission from Political Administrators: The Story of the Civil Service of Pakistan (HISTORY/POLITICS) By Aminullah Chaudry Oxford University Press, Karachi ISBN 978-0-19-906171-6 379pp. Rs895

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